LA neighbors cope after flood

The Los Angeles community of Watts is still recovering from a Nov. 12-13 rain and hailstorm that affected some 550 people.

BY SUSAN KIM | LOS ANGELES, Calif. | December 8, 2003



"What we need now are long-term, specialized volunteers."

—Jorge Quezada


The Los Angeles community of Watts is still recovering from a Nov. 12-13 rain and hailstorm that affected some 550 people, according to Jorge Quezada, citywide volunteer manager with the Los Angeles Mayor's Office.

After an initial call for unskilled volunteers, the community now needs skilled volunteers, including carpenters, plumbers, roofers and mechanics, said Quezada.

"What we need now are long-term, specialized volunteers," he said.

Roof damage is a major problem, since hail the size of baseballs fell. "There are a lot of people out there with holes in their roofs," said Quezada.

More than 5.2 inches of rain fell during a three-hour period, sparking some 1,600 emergency calls in a 24-hour period. "Many cars were inundated with floodwater," said Quezada.

Dick Eskes, a Church World Service Disaster Response and Recovery Liaison, said that, although Watts might be considered a "small-scale" disaster from a national perspective, people's needs were certainly a concern. "People are still living in cars," he said. "And the weather is going to get a little rough."

Food was distributed through both the St. Lawrence Church and the San Miguel Church in Watts. Information about available assistance is being distributed through St. Catherine's Community Center.

Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services (LANHS), a non-profit that specializes in housing issues-primarily the improvement and restoration of neighborhoods-has established a relief fund for repairing homes damaged in the storm.


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