Lately in my home town of Pacifica, there have been big difficulties with El Niño. The giant waves are crashing against the cliffs. On top of those cliffs are apartments and houses, so when the waves crash against it, it causes erosion. With the erosion the cliffs start crumbling, causing the apartment buildings and houses to possibly fall off the cliffs! Most people have had to evacuate their homes, but some are saying that they will not leave their compromised residences. One woman on the news said, “You will literally have to drive me out!”
I interviewed Karen Ervin, former mayor of Pacifica, who is still on the City Council. “Since I have been on the Pacifica City Council, including my time as mayor, two houses have had to be abandoned due to fear that they could fall from the cliff due to erosion. There is an another house that currently has no one living there, but it is not safe to inhabit.” says Ervin. “Additionally, an apartment complex at 310 Esplanade with twenty apartments has also had to be evacuated due to safety concerns. This has all happened since December 15, 2015 due to the El Niño storms. Before this year two apartment complexes on Esplanade have previously been evacuated,” declared Ervin.
The people who will not leave their houses are actually risking their lives to stay. Maybe they have nowhere to go, but also they could die if they don’t leave right away. I feel for both points of view because I know it would be very hard to leave your home that you love and have lots of memories in, but if your life depends on it and if I was in your shoes, I would get out of that house as fast as I could!
“When the City of Pacifica had to declare a State of Emergency, and people had to leave their homes based on the precarious situation that they were facing, this was an extremely hard situation. While understanding the hardships people were facing, nothing is more important than their overall safety. At any moment their homes could have collapsed into the ocean. There was no choice but to evacuate these homes, and I am grateful to the Red Cross and our local Pacifica Resource Center for providing aid and assistance to those individuals in need. There were several individuals who initially did not accept the order to move, but in the end agreed that this is in the best interest of everyone,” stated Karen Ervin.
Most people say that this is all happening because of El Niño, which comes around every few years, bringing weird weather patterns such as lots and lots of rain to California. I agree with them because this has never happened before and it just happened out of the blue when El Niño came around. “I believe the erosion has largely been happening due to the El Niño storms. These storms occur on our Pacifica Coastline periodically, and this season has proven to be one of our strongest El Niño seasons due to the rising ocean temperature. The strong king tides created have wreaked havoc on our coastline,” Ervin explained.
“While I do not know anyone personally at risk of losing their home, I have heard from many homeowners deeply concerned about their homes in the area. The City of Pacifica is doing everything in their power to preserve the integrity of the sea wall at Beach Blvd, and will continue to ensure that all citizens in the area are safe and well protected,” states Ervin.
“Cate, you ask the question, ‘what would I do if I were in the same situation?’ While I understand and greatly empathize with people facing this situation, I have to emphasize the absolute importance to evacuate the area. If my home were at risk, I would hope that I would have prepared myself for the possibility that this day would come. and that I must get my family to safety as quickly and efficiently as possible. Nothing is more important that having each other; our homes are rebuildable and replaceable. The most important thing we can do going forward is to support each other always, in good times and especially in hard times. If it were to happen to me, I would reach out to my family and friends, and I would accept and be grateful for the help provided. That is what makes us all a family after all,” concludes Ervin.
If you were in this situation would you stay or get out?