As was the case elsewhere in California during last year’s atmospheric rivers, several of the neighborhoods that were struck on Monday were among the most impoverished in San Diego. Residents whose homes were flooded said they had been concerned for years that nearby channels had not been properly maintained and left them vulnerable.
“These communities of concern, these underinvested communities have clearly and demonstrably been the hardest hit throughout the region,” said Leslie Reynolds, executive director of Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek, which works with residents and nonprofits along the Chollas Creek Watershed that was overwhelmed on Monday. “These are redlined communities with disproportionate pollution, unemployment, chronic health conditions, and all of these are going to be exacerbated by coming climate challenges. It is heartbreaking.”
Representative Juan Vargas, a Democrat whose district encompasses southwestern San Diego County, starting along the Mexican border, said on Tuesday that his office was fielding calls from distraught homeowners wondering how they would pay for the damages. A mere 8,128 households out of 1.15 million in San Diego County have flood insurance.
“A lot of people are not insured and a lot of people are going to have lots of damage,” Mr. Vargas said, adding that his office is working with the federal government to see what help is available.
“We’re trying to figure that out right now with FEMA to see if there’s anything we can do for them,” he said. “And the damage is extensive.”