Pajaro River levee breach (copy)

The Pajaro River levee where it breached on March 11. 

Where is the Federal Emergency Management Agency? That's been the question on people's minds in Pajaro, which suffered major flooding in March. That question was answered late in the afternoon on Monday, April 3, when Pres. Joseph Biden signed a Presidential Declaration of Disaster for the County of Monterey.

That signature means FEMA can provide full federal support for individuals, businesses and public entities impacted by the flooding. Individual assistance will include rental assistance, low or no-interest loans and other benefits to help families recover. 

The county's local assistance center in Watsonville will now transition to a FEMA Disaster Assistance Center where residents and businesses may apply for assistance in person, according to a County of Monterey press release. The center will include ways to get help from federal, state and local officials.

Up until now, the county, state and nonprofits have been helping residents and businesses of Pajaro,, both before and after they were allowed to return to the area.

Last week the Board of Supervisors voted to immediately implement an eviction moratorium through the end of August, to prevent people from being locked out of their homes and businesses due to non-payment of rent. They will have to make up for the lost rent at a later date.

Biden's declaration came six days after Gov. Gavin Newsom made a formal request for it, citing the fact that approximately 44 percent of Monterey County's population lack homeowner's or personal property insurance. Federal assistance and loans could help fill in the gaps. 


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