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Residents of Pond contend with flood damage, lack of safe water

With official help slow to arrive, the residents of Pond have started helping themselves by helping each other.
Pond CA, March 15, 2023
Posted at 6:21 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 12:17:17-04

POND, Calif. (KERO) — The town of Pond, California, just north of Wasco, continues to deal with the damage and loss of services caused by flooding, including not having access to safe water for basic needs like cooking and bathing. Right now, residents are just trying to salvage what they can.

Pond resident Bilquees Ubadi's home has already been damaged by flooding.

"We have been reaching out to a few officials. We're hoping that the fire department - we're hoping that the county gets involved," said Ubadi. "It should have been stopped, honestly. The first time shouldn't have happened."

Two days after the weekend's heavy rain, the damage to Ubadi's home are extensive. Mud covers the floors and most of her furniture is lost. She says the emotions are overwhelming, but she's grateful for her neighbors.

"The communities came together really well. They are - we have a lot of amazing people that have lived here for a very long time. Everyone here had been here for over 20 years, which is a blessing," said Ubadi.

Bilquees Ubadi
Pond resident Bilquees Ubadi. The home where she and her family live has been heavily damaged by flooding.

The community has worked together to help where they can, and Ubadi's sister Sara is one of the many who have stepped up. Posting on her social media account asking for help, Sara Ubadi has started to collect donations for distribution to neighbors in need around her.

"I posted it two days ago, so we're getting a lot of help," said Sara. "A lot of my friends, they've been bringing cases of water - truckloads of water, food, snacks… anything we ask for, they've been bringing it. Cleaning supplies."

Residents in Pond are also dealing with the fact that their drinking water, as well as the water that's safe for bathing, washing dishes and clothes, even using in the toilet, has been deemed contaminated by floodwater and unsafe to use.

Sara Ubadi
Sara Ubadi

Community members say that although they've been doing most of the work themselves, they are grateful for the help their local council representative, Mario Nuñez, has brought.

"Mario Nuñez, he came out yesterday," said Sara Ubadi. "He helped us. He brought us porta-potties. We barely got those yesterday, and we haven't had no restrooms since."

Ubadi also says some members of the community are working on building trenches roughly 3 feet deep as a protective measure against rising water. She says she knows this will not stop future flooding, but hopes it can at least slow the water down next time.