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California businesses demand disaster relief over raging wildfires

California wildfires continue to rage on and business owners demand the state provides disaster relief. Yahoo Finance’s Melody Hahm shares the details.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: And Melody, you are looking at, of course, those fires out there on the west coast. I know that one of the big ones is just east of San Jose, which is the center of Silicon Valley. So how are those companies being affected?

MELODY HAHM: Yeah, and some quick numbers here, Julie. More than 136,000 people across California, particularly northern California, have been evacuated from their homes. That's as of last night. And the three biggest fires right now are the LNU Lighting Complex, the SCU Lightning Complex, and the CZU Lightning Complex. And they collectively have actually destroyed 1,225 structures, overall more than 1,600 buildings have been destroyed so far. And these are fires that continue to blaze on.

What I want to point out, is that the Gig Workers Collective, which is an activist group actually led by Instacart shoppers, they've been asking Instacart to provide disaster relief to all of those gig employees impacted by natural disasters. Never mind the pandemic, during this period of time as folks are being evacuated, staying in temporary housing, afraid to go to the grocery store, rightfully so, they've been depending heavily on Instacart services, as well as DoorDash, as well as Post Mates, during this time.

Instacart has not responded to my request for comment, and they have not responded to TechCrunch's, our sister publication, respond for comment. But overall, I think during this period of time, as we talk about AB5 and the way that companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Post Mates, Instacart have not actually adhered to protecting their employees, employees are taking it upon their own hands, right, saying, hey, we're actually in the midst of another crisis once again, and now we're putting our lives on the line trying to deliver water and goods to homes and we're not even being compensated as such.

So they did write a pretty comprehensive [INAUDIBLE] post last night asking for additional overtime pay or additional benefits. If they are themselves those are damaged in a fire or locked in, they should be able to get additional health services. And all of this will be voted on, as we know, this November, with Prop 22, at least for those employees in the state of California. And my heart does go out to a lot of these folks who have been frontline workers during this period of crisis. And I'm curious to see if any sort of compensation will be provided to them in the long run.