After a week of destructive storms, California will get federal aid thanks to an emergency declaration from President Joe Biden.
An emergency declaration means that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will facilitate disaster relief efforts and mobilize emergency resources, the White House said in a statement.
Relief efforts will “alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population and provide appropriate assistance,” a FEMA press release said.
FEMA also said it will focus its work on the following counties: El Dorado, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Ventura — more than a quarter of the state’s counties.
Since the beginning of the new year, severe weather has flooded many small towns in Northern California and large storm waves have even destroyed a pier in Santa Cruz. One rare weather event, called a bomb cyclone, killed two people last week.
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President Biden approved the emergency declaration after California Gov. Gavin Newsom requested federal aid. According to Politico, more than 424,000 residents remained without power Sunday, and another 20,000 had been evacuated from their homes.
Gov. Newsom has also said he plans to request additional aid funding from the state legislature. That will include $200 million for work on aging levees. Newsom plans to release the 2023 budget proposal this week, Politico wrote.
In the meantime, Newsom asked California residents to stay safe as the storms continue to batter the state’s coastlines.
“The worst is still in front of us,” Newsom said. “Don’t test fate.”