Responding to The San Jose Flood
News | February 27, 2017 by Northwest Region
On Tuesday, February 21, the city of San Jose, California, began to struggle with voracious floods that would cause extensive damage, and prompt an order of evacuation to be put into place. Since the onset, Tzu Chi volunteers have had their eyes trained on the situation.
See updates below from our local volunteers and support our disaster relief mission.
Today marked our fourth disaster relief distribution for residents affected by the floods; and during this event, a total of $14,100 in aid was provided. We sincerely hope that through immediate assistance in the form of financial aid, recipients will be able to recuperate speedily, and return to a sense of normalcy once again.
Aid recipients shared their gratitude with our news team, and some even offered their help, urging: “Let me know ahead of time if you need me, I’m willing to volunteer.”
Approximately 250 individuals were in attendance on March 11 for a commemoration of all that has come to pass after the San Jose floods. Residents, volunteers, and religious leaders alike convened for an interfaith dinner, showing their support for those affected. Warm meals, and warmer words, were shared as touching experiences filled the shelter. Morale was high after the gathering, and a potent sense of unified love and harmony was felt by all.
Providing effective disaster relief requires smooth teamwork and dedicated effort. Our volunteers always strive to serve with this in mind. When those impacted by the San Jose flood came to our distribution, relief volunteers could fully focus on making them feel welcome, supported, and loved. We’ve distributed $129,000 in aid for those impacted by this disaster so far!
During this third disaster relief distribution, our volunteers had the opportunity to speak with Denise, who has been homeless for two years prior to the floods. She recounted the abruptness and fierceness of the floods, how her friends had scrambled for safety, losing their belongings to the swell. Our volunteers were touched by her sincerity and appreciation as they offered her a cash card, and well-wishes.
Volunteers provided financial assistance at today’s disaster relief distribution in San Jose, California, and visited the homes of aid recipients to reconnect. More than personal possessions lost to natural disasters, however, it’s the things that can’t be replaced that matter most: those that are made of memories.
The floods have caused irreparable losses such as these for many families - and our relief volunteers are there, each step of the way, serving residents with kindness and understanding.
As many residents still strive to recover from the damages done by the floods, Tzu Chi relief volunteers held a disaster aid distribution for those affected. The families of San Jose have lost much to the flood - and Wintec Industries also extended a helping hand in allowing them regain some of those possessions, by generously donating 80 small appliances at the distribution event! 56 of our volunteers on site provided 125 cash cards, as well as warm blankets, to families in need. Another relief distribution will be held for flood survivors March 5.
In the wake of a disaster, residents are in need of more than just material items that disaster aid provides – survivors require emotional and spiritual support as well. Tzu Chi volunteers performed songs and dances with those gathered, to soothe evacuees hearts. Disaster relief distributions will follow, but for this one evening, spirits were warmed with music and good cheer, and the burden of stress was made lighter.
When the floods forced many families from their homes, the community of Rock Springs did not falter - residents came together with more than 150 of our volunteers to clean up the aftermath. Mayor Sam Liccardo also joined the fray to aid in the cleanup, expressing gratitude for everyone’s resilience and support, as they united as one positive force in this time of need.
One week after the heavy rainstorm hit San Jose, many residents still have not recovered from the ensuing floods. On February 27th, Tzu Chi volunteers offered a helping hand to those cleaning up in their inundated homes. Volunteers also set up a booth in the Local Assistance Center, offering consultation, and collecting information from residents in preparation for a disaster relief cash card distribution.
The flooding that occurred in San Jose California following torrential rain was shocking - catching entire communities completely off guard. Many are homeless due to severe flood damage. Our volunteers are helping families clean up, while preparing for our disaster relief distributions.
February 23rd marked the reduction of flood evacuation zones from 14,000 to below 3,800, and fewer than 1,080 homes now remain under mandatory evacuation from the original 4,000. Many residents, however, still endure the heartache of seeing their homes in ruins, and face a labyrinth of difficulties with contaminated water, loss of personal possessions full of memories, lack of electricity, or a means of cooking for their families.
Volunteers continue to seek a means of alleviating their hardship, and have distributed freshly-made, healthy, vegetarian meals to flood survivors who have remained in shelters. We hope that we may warm their spirits with hot meals, and heartfelt smiles.
Pouring rain, the breaching of Coyote Creek, and the overflowing of Anderson Lake, caused flooding to numerous homes, and prompted the rescues of approximately 300 residents by local officials. Emergency shelters were thus opened to affected individuals.
Our volunteers from Northern California have worked closely with the American Red Cross to set up shelter at James Lick High School after 14,000 people had been forced from their homes. A large number of these flood survivors happen to be either dominantly Vietnamese-speaking or Spanish-speaking - the language barrier making the distress they must endure all the more apparent. Volunteers on-site were able to abate some of this turmoil by translating for them, accommodating their concerns with compassion.
Knowing there would likely be other vulnerable individuals, such as the homeless in this community, our volunteers scouted the surrounding areas with this in mind, and persuaded them to evacuate to a shelter as well.
As the flood subsides, and residents will be able to travel more safely, we plan to provide further aid for survivors. We hope to act as a balm to soothe the worries that now plague the residents of San Jose, who have lost much to the floods, and will work towards restoring normalcy for those affected.