Dust After Tropical Storm Hilary Causing Health Issues For Residents

Tiani Jadulang

It’s been almost a month since Tropical Storm Hilary changed the lives for residents here in the Coachella Valley.

While progress has been made in clearing the mud from deeply impacted areas, the air quality is taking a toll on the health of many residents.

“I’ve just been exposed to all this dust all the time and the mud and the smell and it’s been rough. It’s really affecting my lungs and my health right now.” Andrew Velasquez, a Cathedral City resident says.

It’s no shocker that leftover sand has swept its way across the Coachella Valley in the last few weeks, but it’s those residents deeply impacted by Tropical Storm Hilary that are now seeing a toll taken on their health.

“My lungs right now, they feel very heavy and my vocal cords are going at the same time. It’s hard when you lay down to go to sleep, your lungs are pressing even harder into your chest.” Velasquez says.

Residents in the area say the dust they’re constantly surrounded by, now makes day-to-day tasks, difficult.

“Myself and my partner are starting to notice that it’s starting to, we’re starting to become short of breath, even just walking up and down our second story home, we’re trying to wear our masks as much as possible, but I’m sure you can understand with the heat that we’re dealing with as well… it’s just really difficult to try to breathe and you know, sweating and stuff.” Jerry Meza, another Cathedral City resident says.

Cathedral City is doing their best to help residents, hosting a city council meeting last Wednesday, hearing questions and concerns from neighbors. 

As far as the 100,000 to 250,000 cubic-yards of mud that still needs to be removed, the city is in the process of securing bids for the millions of dollars it will take to have the mud removed from the area.

As of now, they’re advising residents to, when they can, stay inside to avoid breathing in the dust and debris.

Despite any health concerns, residents choose the community first.

“Just to keep going, just keep going. What we have built here is community and knowing that now we can rely on one another to help each other… that’s very important.” Velasquez adds.

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