Hilary'S One-Two Punch: East Valley Farmworkers Grapple with Property Damage, Lost Wages


Foundation: Inland Empire Community Foundation

credit:

Residents of a trailer park in California's Coachella Valley are still picking up the pieces after Tropical Storm Hilary caused devastating flooding over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Residents of the Oasis Mobile Home Park in Cathedral City have been cited by the EPA for having water that's contaminated with dangerous levels of arsenic, a carcinogen that can cause severe health problems if consumed at high levels over a prolonged period.

"We were telling them stock up on food, don't leave your house, and they're like, 'We have to work,'" says Luz Gallegos, executive director of the TODEC Legal Center, a resource center for the immigrant community.

"We have to save money for rent," says one resident.

"One week of lost wages could cost him up to $500," adds Gallegos, who says TODEC has been providing clean drinking water for years.

The park is home to around 1,000 residents, many of whom are undocumented farmworkers, and Gallegos says they're worried about lost wages if fields are damaged and they can't return to work.

"We were telling them stock up on food, don't leave your house, and they're like, 'We have to work,'" she says

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