Pajaro residents cleared to return to flood-ravaged Monterey County farm town – Monterey Herald


Monterey County authorities Thursday morning lifted evacuation orders for the flood-ravaged farm town of Pajaro, allowing residents to return to their homes in most cases for the first time since they were forced to flee in the middle of the night March 11 after a levee failed and inundated their community.

But county officials who lifted the orders at 10 a.m., a day earlier than they had indicated Wednesday, cautioned that Pajaro is still far from livable, with no water or sewer service and many homes requiring restoration work.

“There are health risks to people returning to Pajaro,” a Monterey County notice said. “The county and Pajaro Sunny Mesa Services are working diligently to restore the sewer system. There is no potable water and toilets can’t be flushed. It isn’t recommended that residents stay until sewer and water are restored. Those entering the area do so at their own risk.”

The advisory said that cleaning, toilet, showers, handwashing, and laundry stations, along with bottled water, and information booths will be made available at Pajaro Park and Pajaro Middle School, and that Monterey Salinas Transit will provide transportation.

Heavy equipment was operating in the area working on debris removal and sewage hauling, county officials advised.

Pajaro residents have become increasingly frustrated with the ongoing evacuation order, and confronted local officials at a Tuesday evening “town hall” at a temporary shelter at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. More than 500 were staying at shelters set up by the county, while hundreds of others have been sleeping in cars, sheds and hotel rooms.



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