El Niño threatens Pescadero farmworkers’ access to health services

 

With El Niño threatening to pound the California coast and disrupt life for residents, community advocates in Pescadero are dispatching Spanish-speaking health workers to prepare people for a storm that could cut them off from hospitals and even potable water.

Puente, a local community health organization, launched its health worker program in August to connect the rural community — particularly low-income farmworkers and their families — with preventive health services like a Thursday evening clinic.

According to the National Weather Service, this year’s El Niño could rank among the strongest on record. This concerns the residents of Pescadero, a coastal farming town whose one main access road regularly floods during winter storms.

As California’s rainy season begins this month, the community health workers are tasked not only with relaying messages of disaster preparedness, but also with helping residents access health services now so they can remain healthy when floods leave them particularly vulnerable.

Reporters Michael Nedelman and An-Li Herring report in more detail in the audio podcast above.

NOAA's image of El Niño strengthening, as of Oct. 9, 2015. The agency said El Niño is "likely to peak in late fall/early winter, and gradually weaken through spring 2016." (Image courtesy of NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab)

NOAA’s image of El Niño strengthening, as of Oct. 9, 2015. The agency said El Niño is “likely to peak in late fall/early winter, and gradually weaken through spring 2016.” (Image courtesy of NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab)