Ramsay Park is transformed into a large staging area Wednesday for citizens picking up flood relief supplies thanks to a crew from Global Empowerment Mission, FEMA, the City of Watsonville and others. —Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—A Disaster Recovery Center is now operating at Ramsay Park to help residents impacted by recent storms and flooding in this area.

The public can access information and resources needed for recovery, regardless of the type of damage suffered, location of impacted residence or business, insurance status, immigration status, or any other factor. The center, 1301 Main St., will be open daily from 9am to 7pm.

The Recovery Center includes staff from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the California Office of Emergency Service (CalOES), the County of Santa Cruz, the City of Watsonville, and various state and local agencies that include disaster recovery as part of their mission.

The U.S. Small Business Administration and the California Small Business Development Center have also opened a Business Recovery Center in Capitola to provide a wide range of services to businesses impacted by severe winter storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides. The center, at the Capitola City Hall Community Room, 420 Capitola Ave., runs from 8am to 5pm, Monday-Friday.

Sandbags are being accepted at the parking lot across the street from the Watsonville Buddhist Temple on Bridge Street from 8am-4pm. The second sandbag drop-off location at Ramsay Park is no longer open.

Officials say not to dispose of sandbags in garbage bins, on the side of the road, or in storm drains. If flood water reached your sandbags, they could be contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, other hazardous chemicals, or bacteria. 

“You’ll want to dispose of those sandbags properly by bringing them to our drop-off center,” officials said.

FEMA released this statement: “FEMA is committed to helping all eligible disaster survivors recover from the effects of severe winter storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in California. This includes assistance to U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals and qualified aliens.

“Disaster survivors in Merced, Monterey, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz counties may apply for assistance from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP). You or a member of your household must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien.”

For those who do not meet the status of either U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien, households may still apply for and be considered for IHP assistance if:

• Another adult member of your household meets the eligibility criteria and certifies their citizenship status during the registration process or signs the Declaration and Release form, or

• The parent or guardian of a minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified alien applies for assistance on behalf of the child, if they live in the same household. The parent or legal guardian must register as the co-applicant, and the minor child must be under age 18 at the time the disaster occurred.

Michelle Pulido, spokeswoman for the City of Watsonville, said the City mailed out close to 5,000 fliers with flood relief information this week.

FEMA said information can be found at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.


Hed: Apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance


FEMA Helpline: 800.621.3362

Have this information ready when you apply:

• Social Security number (one per household)

• Address of the damaged home or apartment

• Description of the damage

• Current telephone number

• Address where you can get mail or email to receive notifications

• Insurance information, if available

• Bank account and routing number for direct deposit of funds

Federal disaster assistance may include:

• Temporary emergency housing or money for home repairs of primary residences

• Help with medical, dental, personal property, transportation and disaster-related moving and storage expenses

• Long-term, low-interest disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.



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