NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Since the monsoon season started in Mid-June, up to a foot of rain has fallen in the burn scar near Rociada. Families there are desperate for help as flooding causes severe damage almost daily.
“That’s the one sign first that you can hear is the water rushing. It get’s pretty loud,” says Delrey Trujillo, who lives in Rociada and whose property has been damaged by flooding. “Every time we get rain, it basically floods.” Trujillo lives on the property with his girlfriend and two children. This home has been in his girlfriend’s family for decades, and he says none of them have ever seen flooding like this.
“July 4th is the first flooding that we’ve had,” Trujillo says. Trujillo says once it rains, in about 20 to 30 minutes this whole field is saturated with water—three to five feet in some cases. “There’s a wall of water from there to like there that just… it’s just wicked,” Trujillo says. Trujillo says the floodwaters have damaged three cars on the property, washed away a propane tank and a shed, flooded the house, and have forced him to replace his well pump three times since July—costing him thousands in damage, and counting.
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“We got the tractor and we got dirt and we laid a wall here of dirt that was about four or five feet high and the currents of the floods just washed it out like nothing,” Trujillo says. When asked whether the floodwaters have made him fear for his life or safety: “Uh, yeah it does get scary sometimes. Especially with my kids you know I have my kids with me…I have one seven-year-old and I have one 19 year old. And as you can look on the side of the house here, you can actually see here where the water levels came up,” Trujillo says, motioning to waterline that leads right up under a window.
Trujillo says leaving isn’t an option for them. But he says he hasn’t gotten much help from the powers that be: “I’ve been in contact with like the governor’s office, state representatives, the county emergency management team, and everybody was supposed to you know even come and deliver me sandbags and I’ve never seen one face at all.”
Roger Montoya, a state representative for the area, says the federal help on the ground has been hit or miss in recent weeks. “We will try to have the county trucks moving and clearing the roadways, managing debris to the best of that we can and deploying sandbags but I’ll tell you what: the crews are thin, they are tired, and they are devastated.”
A spokesperson for the New Mexico National Guard sent News 13 the following statement:
“The New Mexico National Guard remains in a supporting role for flood response. Since we are in a supporting role, our efforts are being directed by the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. We currently have approximately 60 members of the National Guard providing sandbags, improving drainage, and providing potable water in several locations in northern New Mexico. Since DHSEM is the lead agency, their staff assigns tasking the New Mexico National Guard with specific missions and locations. Our Soldiers and Airmen are working tirelessly each day to complete these taskings and support the citizens of New Mexico as directed by DHSEM.”Douglas Mallary, Public Affairs Specialist, New Mexico National Guard
A spokesperson for FEMA sent News 13 the following statement:
“Rociada NM, where New Mexican residents have been affected by the floods, is in San Miguel County. San Miguel is one of the five counties approved for federal disaster assistance for wildfires and floods related to the wildfires.
FEMA Federal Disaster Declaration DR-4652 for New Mexican Wildfires has been expanded to include flooding, mudflows, and debris flows directly related to the wildfires. The destruction from the wildfires has eliminated all terrain and structures that could mitigate flooding, mudflows, and debris flows.
The New Mexico monsoon season typically begins in mid-June and lasts through September. The monsoon season directly followed these large wildfires creating a disastrous situation for flooding, mudflows, and debris flows due to burn scars. This also further complicates the ability for many families to register for FEMA assistance.
For this, the registration period was extended and will now end on September 6, 2022. This includes all counties designated for Individual Assistance that are Colfax, Lincoln, Mora, San Miguel, and Valencia.”Carmen G. Rodriguez Diaz, IMCore Assistant External Affairs Officer, FEMA