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ABC30 Central Valley

FEMA assisting people in Merced County

By Vince Ybarra,


"I just started crying because I knew what it was. It was water pulling in. By the time, it was up to the window. And by the time we got the door open, it overtook the car," said Leona Faulk, a Merced County resident.

She said she was living in her car at the time of the flood hit. Faulk said she woke up to her feet being wet. She then called 9-1-1 in a panic.

Sadly, no one came to help.

"I could of drowned in there, you know," said Faulk.

Now she's turning to FEMA for assistance. Faulk said it's brought her peace knowing there's help.

"They've helped me so much, with food, just helping me," said Faulk.

She says some of the case workers have also experienced what she's going through which lets her know she's not alone. Faulk is hopeful, looking ahead to the future.

"It looks good. I've been praying that's all you can do is pray," said Faulk.

Maria Figueroa works for FEMA. We met up with her at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which has representatives assisting people in Planada. She says FEMA just being there, gives people relief after the storm.

"Some of them are surprised and happy because insurance will cover some of their disaster-related damages," said Figueroa.

She says there is a lot of work that goes into filing a FEMA claim. But as people come in, their anxiety eases as they talk to representatives.

"It's good to see them leave with a sliver of hope that maybe we can help them," said Figueroa.

She said FEMA will be on the ground as long as help is needed.
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