In San Bernardino mountains, residents hit by devastating mudslide fear more to come
Residents of the wealthy community of Escondido worry they are just a small portion of the victims of another mudslide, one that has devastated a number of communities in the region’s San Bernardino mountains over the last two years. Many of the residents of those affected by the latest slide are asking what will happen to them as flood waters rise from the valleys below.
“Right now, there’s not only the damage being done to the homes, but there’s also the water being added to the river that goes through the communities,” said Steve Calkins, vice president for the Escondido/San Gorgonio Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a very complicated problem,” said Calkins, explaining that each community is affected by the same set of factors: “The high pressure systems that cause an earthquake, the high velocity flow, that kind of stuff.”
To start with, he said, homes like these are “built to withstand the natural pressures that come, and then there are the engineered structures.” These homes “receive the necessary forces and are designed to withstand the earthquake, which brings this kind of debris in,” Calkins said. “In this area on Lake Berryessa and in Escondido, we have a tremendous amount of these homes.”
All of which is why people like Susan Ettner have started the local nonprofit group The People’s Project to try to get more involved.
“We’re trying to get more involved to help the people who will most suffer during a flood,” Ettner said.
She said there are three main strategies at play.
“First off, you need to get people to educate themselves,” she said.
On top of that, Ettner and the People’s Project hope to get homeowners to donate a bit more to the nonprofit, which can use the money to help people in those affected by the slide that’s left at least 11 people dead and a number of homes or businesses destroyed or flooded.
“There is a real issue there, a real need there,” said Ettner. “We’re just trying to help people who can’t help themselves. It’s not just the houses that are being destroyed. It’s the businesses. It