WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that President Obama has issued a major disaster declaration for the state of New Mexico for the severe storms and flooding that occurred between Sept. 15 and Sept. 26.
The disaster declaration provides the counties of Colfax, Eddy, Lea, Lincoln, Otero, San Miguel, Santa Fe and Sierra with access to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) public assistance to repair damaged infrastructure, and provides statewide hazard mitigation assistance. The severe September storms and flooding significantly damaged roads, bridges, low-water crossings and other infrastructure in many New Mexico communities. The funding correlated with the disaster declaration will help with recovery efforts including debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairs to roads, bridges and water utility facilities.
Last week, the lawmakers jointly urged the president to respond swiftly to the state of New Mexico's request for disaster assistance. According to the state’s letter requesting the major disaster declaration, the total severe storm damage for the September floods has been assessed at $10.2 million, with damage to roads and bridges accounting for more than 70 percent of the total.
"The severe September storms and resulting flooding took a harsh toll on the roads, bridges and infrastructure of many of our communities, and the federal assistance from this disaster declaration will help expedite recovery efforts throughout the state," Udall said. "I am pleased with this quick response to our request and I will continue to work to ensure that the federal government supports affected New Mexico communities with the resources needed to rebuild."
“This disaster declaration is welcome news, and I’m pleased our communities in Colfax, Eddy, Lea, Lincoln, Otero, San Miguel, Santa Fe, and Sierra Counties will receive much-needed federal aid to recover from September’s intense storms and severe floods," Heinrich said. "Last month's extreme weather conditions damaged roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure New Mexicans rely on. Federal assistance to help restore our communities is a critical step toward the recovery effort.”
"Our calls for action continue to be quickly answered, allowing us to bring much-needed assistance to the New Mexicans affected by the September storms," Pearce said. "I remain committed to working with the rest of the delegation and federal agencies to provide needed relief to our communities in continued need of assistance. We can and will rebuild for a stronger tomorrow. It is an obligation that must be fulfilled.”
“The federal assistance available as a result of this disaster declaration will help the recovery effort in communities throughout New Mexico that were impacted by the September storms,” Luján said. “The Obama administration’s prompt response to our call for assistance will ensure that these much-needed resources will contribute to the rebuilding process.”
"I appreciate FEMA's decision to make assistance available to the broad swath of New Mexico communities affected by flooding," Lujan Grisham said. "However, I urge the agency to reconsider the request for assistance to the metro area in Bernalillo County."