On that February day, Teresa Pedrizco remembers going about her business just like any other day of the week, running errands. Her mother called to let her know that her neighbor that the street one over was flooding. Teresa came home, arriving to disaster and chaos. They put things up high, and grabbed a blanket or two. The water was rising fast, the cars were getting covered. The children were crying uncontrollably as the water was rising. They left in the afternoon when the street was almost completely covered with water. Teresa worried that if she stayed longer, they would risk the kid’s lives.
Today, Teresa recalls disbelief and anger that the government failed to let families know what was happening, or alert communities downstream on time. Teresa’s family is still waiting to receive money to do the repairs. The Pedrizco were required to have flood insurance, but it didn’t cover the damages. The FEMA inspector ruled the damage was less than the $5000 deductible. Teresa still hasn’t been able to find a general contractor to repair the foundation alone for less than $5000.
The flood was very stressful for the Pedrizcos— the escape from the flood brought repeated nightmares. The rebuilding required Teresa to put her career on hold. She was studying to take the California Bar exam in July 2017, but had to postpone those plans to rebuild. She recalls intense emotional stress due to financial hardship, as well as frustration with government unwillingness to protect its citizens. Teresa passed the bar exam two years later, and will continue to fight for herself and other victims of government negligence.