US Climate and Health Alliance

In East Porterville, drought escalates mental health issues


Manuel León’s fight for his own life began long before la sequía – the drought – swallowed up the water under his East Porterville home and with it, his only escape from reality.He was sick before the backyard cherry, apple and pear trees shriveled, before the onions and roses wilted, before his vivid green lawn turned to dust.León, 49, has had colon cancer since before researchers saw the drought coming. It was diagnosed in 2001. He had a colostomy in 2002. The sickness came back in 2010, just in time to watch his rural community dry up and his wife become the sole bread-winner as they raised three boys on a farmworker’s earnings.“The only thing I can do is sit here,” he said in Spanish. “If I wash the dishes, my nails break. They are brittle. You can say I don’t do anything.”

Resource Type
Magazine/newspaper article
The Fresno Bee
Resource URL
September 26, 2015
Organization Type
Health and Human Impact
Mental health
Climate and Environmental Impact
Social determinants of health Vulnerable populations

Resources main page