Pinoy families and businesses begin quake recovery

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

August 26, 2014

NAPA, Calif. – Clean-up in the Bay Area has started after Sunday’s 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck near the cities of Napa and American Canyon.

PG&E is also continuing to search for more gas leaks while power has been restored to nearly all the 75,000 customers who lost electricity.

Over 200 injuries were reported. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.

While support shelters are set up, no Filipinos were found there.

Kababayans we’ve spoken to said if they are in need of shelter they will seek help from family or friends.

Filipino businesses like 3-J’s Oriental Store in American Canyon was open for business after being forced to close their doors while recovering from the damage of the quake.

“We were affected because in the front of the store a lot of things fell and a lot of glasses broke, said 3-J’s cashier Elvira Baltazar “A lot of the things we sell here fell and the ceiling came down.”

Baltazar hopes they will be better prepared in the future.

“Always be prepared with things like this because we don’t know what will come and what to expect,” said Baltazar.

Meanwhile in Napa, Filipino couple Fides Enriquez and her husband Florante Aguilar are going over the damage to their home.

“There is some structural damage to our house,” said Enriquez. “One side it’s like the house shifted so there’s this little buckling on the base and I understand the house needs to be lifted and we need to replace the wood and bolt it back down. I don’t even know how much that’s going to be.”

Broken glass and damaged belongings are among the wreckage.

But Enriquez said they have an even bigger problem.

“We still don’t have water,” said Enriquez. “From what I read in the news there’s about 600 residents who don’t have water service yet because of all the leaks, so it’s a little tricky. Some of our neighbors who do have water have been great. They’ve offered us to let us use their bathrooms.”

Napa Public Works said it could take up to a week to get the water system back to normal.

But officials stated the running water is safe to drink.

Enriquez is already preparing a new earthquake kit in case of more powerful aftershocks or future quakes.

“I experienced the ’89 earthquake, so after that everyone was all, ‘oh you need to have your kit, you have to have this and that’, and sometimes you remember for a moment there and you’re prepared, but afterwards you forget and it lapses, so I would definitely build up my kit again,” said Enriquez.

While they are among those devastated by the quake, they are thankful for family members who came across the Bay Area to help make recovery easier.

“Family is our best resource,” said Enriquez. “If it wasn’t for my sisters and my brother or my dad, my cousin who just came in and picked up a broom and helped us clean and just brought us water and food, I don’t think we would have fared well. We would have been a total wreck.”

You may contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com or follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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