As the California wildfires burn the Golden State from top to bottom, a new crisis has arisen – supplying shelter for those who have lost their homes and for tens of thousands of evacuees. California is now experiencing freezing conditions in the north and a storm is coming in to make things even more miserable for these displaced individuals.
Over 50,000 people have been evacuated from the fire-ravaged Paradise region alone. Only a 1,000 have found their way to sanctioned shelters. Illness is also sweeping the evacuation shelters of evacuees. The norovirus has broken out and isolation tents are now being set up to contain the spread of it. ZeroHedge has more on this catastrophe and the suffering it brings:
As California fire officials continue to battle the state’s deadliest blaze, a new crisis has emerged; tens of thousands of evacuees are now homeless and struggling to survive in freezing conditions with a storm expected to roll in on Wednesday. California officials estimated earlier in the week that 50,000 people had been evacuated from the fire-ravaged Paradise region, and over 1,000 are currently in sanctioned shelters.
Making things worse, norovirus has broken out in at least three evacuation shelters, requiring isolation tents to try and contain its spread.
As the Sacramento Bee notes – “the situation is growing worse with each passing day.”
“This is on an order of magnitude beyond what we thought was one of the worst disaster recoveries we would be faced with,” said Kelly Huston, deputy director of Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Emergency Services.
After the Camp Fire erased most of the town of Paradise, destroying more than 9,800 residences, emergency services officials are dealing with what some say is an escalating humanitarian crisis with no quick solutions. Some evacuees will be able to return to unburned homes. Most, now hunkered in hotels, staying with family and friends, or stuck in evacuation centers or unauthorized camps, have no home to return to, and are left wondering where their future lies.
Many residents have turned to makeshift communities where sanitation and safety are top concerns. In particular, hundreds of evacuees have been squatting at a camp in a Walmart parking lot, “a ramshackle village some inhabitants call Wallywood, a sardonic mash-up of their location and reduced circumstances,” reports the Bee.
“I just want to be safe and happy and in a home,” says 57-year-old Wallywood resident DeAnn Miller, who was homeless for a year before moving into a Paradise mobile home three months ago.
“I need my home back,” said Miller, disheveled and standing next to someone else’s bucket of urine.
On Friday afternoon, the Butte County Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting, voting to open large shelters in order to consolidate Camp Fire evacuees who are currently spread throughout six shelters – mostly in churches. The problem, reports the Bee, is that the shelters are up to 30 miles apart, making it more difficult for the county to provide medical, law enforcement, food, clothing, and other services.
“Because they’re scattered all over, it’s so much more difficult to provide those services to them,” said Butte County Supervisor Bill Connelly. “We need to be able to house them, clothe them, give them sanitation, medical care, help them with paperwork. We have rain coming so our immediate need is to consolidate our evacuees into areas we can provide that.”
State lawmakers in Sacramento said on Friday that they will look for money to help rebuild, as well as find ways to build cheap and fast housing – such as mobile homes.
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