Santa Fe, NM – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham today requested that President Biden declare a major disaster in New Mexico following the heavy rainfall and severe flash flooding that impacted Doña Ana County on August 12, 2021, through August 16, 2021.
“This flooding was absolutely devastating to the people of Doña Ana County, and a major disaster declaration will be instrumental in helping New Mexicans recover,” said Governor Lujan Grisham. “In addition to this request, we as a state continue to do all we can to assist those affected.”
“In our talks with the National Weather Service, we learned that the flooding that our communities experienced, including the inundating of roads, homes, and public utilities, would be referred to as a 1,000-year event,” said Doña Ana County Emergency Manager Stephen Lopez. “We are grateful that there was not a loss of life, but the damage and impact to facilities and residents’ property remain. The support from the State and federal government will go a long way to helping recovery efforts that are still underway.”
The Governor’s letter includes requests for several types of federal aid. If approved, this major disaster declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would provide federal resources to eligible individuals and households through the Individual Assistance program, as well as federal funding to local, county, and state governments, in addition to certain eligible non-profits, through the Public Assistance program. The Governor’s letter also includes a request for Hazard Mitigation resources to be made available for all 33 counties in New Mexico.
Before the state could submit a formal request, FEMA required that Doña Ana County officials and the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) perform numerous inspections and assessments to document the full extent of the damage from these storms.
“This monsoon season has brought historic rain and flooding to southern New Mexico,” said DHSEM Secretary Bianca Ortiz-Wertheim. “State and local officials have worked diligently to begin the recovery process and gather all the information and documentation that is necessary to support this request. I would like to thank everyone who continues to provide much-needed support to those recovering from this disaster, and I am deeply grateful to the first responders who risked their lives during these storms to protect the people of New Mexico.”
On August 15, 2021, Governor Lujan Grisham ordered an initial state emergency declaration for Doña Ana County, directing a statewide response to this disaster and making available $750,000 in state emergency funds to support local recovery efforts. On September 24, 2021, the Governor signed a second executive order making an additional $750,000 available to the county. The state constitution does not allow these state emergency funds to be directly distributed to private individuals, making federal assistance all the more critical for the families affected.
The text of the Governor’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration can be found here.
DHSEM works to protect the people of New Mexico and the nation through a comprehensive and coordinated program of mitigating hazards, preparing for emergencies, preventing attacks, and recovering from disasters.