Pajaro Valley flood victims in desperate need of help

The flood waters in the Pajaro Valley, just outside Watsonville, have receded.

But people who were forced to evacuate are concerned about what's ahead. 

Advocates for flood victims said there are more than 300 people seeking shelter at an evacuation center and receiving other services at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville.

They said flood victims are in desperate need of support including financial help. 

Fernando Garcia-Martinez pulled items from a bag he packed and grabbed when deputies came knocking on the door of his family home early Saturday morning.

The 39- year-old said he hasn't been allowed back to see the condition of his home.
And he's worried about how to pay his bills.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said United Way was able to get $42 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help farmworkers, and that $600 checks are being sent out. 

But Raymon Cancino with the nonprofit Community Bridges said that is money slated for COVID-19 relief and much more is needed to help flood victims.

"This is money back from August of last year.  This isn't new opportunity, new ways of getting out of the situation," said Cancino.  

The governor's office issued a written statement which says in part, "The administration is also pursuing additional supports for individuals recovering from January storms who are ineligible for FEMA assistance due to immigration status."

"Get on the phone.  Start working with communities. We have a lot of wonderful legislators who support us," said Cancino.  

He urged the governor to work with local lawmakers, that each family should get an additional $1,500 to help them get back on their feet.  

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @Amber KTVU