Regular citizens are not yet allowed up to Paradise -- there are downed trees and power lines all over the place -- but we are getting some news about what has and has not been preserved. We were happy to hear today that the public library up there is still intact, which is good news as it can serve people in many ways during whatever rebuilding will happen. Otherwise, the news is mostly bad -- you can see videos all over Facebook, and they're devastating. I know a lot of people who have confirmed that their houses have gone, and one who knows it's still there. Others just don't know yet. And we have over 40 confirmed dead; that number will continue to rise.
Housing is going to be a serious problem. They're saying that 15% of the housing in our county is gone. Even with squishing, and some people simply not coming back, we can't house everybody. I hear they're bringing in temporary housing. Right now a lot of people are still at large shelters, some are camping in parks (or the Walmart parking lot, which now has an RV town), or staying with host families. You have to understand, Paradise was a pretty low-income town and had a large number of elderly residents as well. A lot of people won't be able to afford rentals in Chico, or to rebuild. And of course many of them have lost their jobs too.
Here's a photo of me and the kids today as we went out and ran some errands. Wearing a properly-rated face mask is super-important; the air is full of gunk.
|A buddy is calling this #CaliStyle|
There is plenty to do related to the fire, but nothing else. Tomorrow, our high school is hosting a get-together for teens -- there will be 'shopping,' gift cards, and the band is hoping to have Paradise band kids come to a party. I'll also be sorting books for shelters instead of for the book sale, especially kids' books. My quilt guild has scheduled some marathon sewing sessions and has probably made a goal to give everybody a quilt. My church is acting as a one-stop everything shop, offering help with paperwork, professional counseling, free food and clothes, and coordinating host families. Every organization in town is doing anything anybody can think of.
If by any chance you'd like to help, it's money that is needed. BUT you have to be careful; GoFundMes are proliferating, but they aren't all legitimate. Scammers have been using real victims' names to start fundraisers. So, it's important to verify the authenticity of any fundraiser, and I'd advise using the large, official ones if you don't actually know the people involved. For example, this Camp Fire Fund between a local bank and the TV stations. Or this fund for the many students at my college who are now homeless, started by the college president.
Well, that is a long and depressing post, but it seems like some folks might be interested.