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Governor signs emergency declaration for Socorro County

Declaration provides new resources to support recovery from heavy rainfall and flash flooding

Santa Fe, NM – Yesterday, Governor Lujan Grisham signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Socorro County. This order aims to provide local governments with the tools and funding they need to begin recovering from the heavy rainfall and severe flooding that impacted the county in early July of this year.

Like similar declarations for Lincoln, Chaves, Valencia, Eddy, Doña Ana, Mora, Rio Arriba, and Catron counties, this order provides up to $750,000 for the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) to support public recovery efforts organized by city and county officials.

In this instance, the state constitution does not allow state emergency funds to be used for direct financial assistance to private individuals.

This declaration also means that affected localities within the county could also be eligible for state assistance. Additionally, state emergency declarations authorize the Adjutant General to activate the New Mexico National Guard for necessary support and direct all cabinet departments to assist with a statewide response.

“As disasters impact Socorro County on an ongoing basis, different difficulties arise that the community cannot anticipate,” said Socorro County Emergency Manager Gail Rogers. “The latest areas of repeated impact have been the small acequia systems in the northern part of the county. The acequia board has done their best to mitigate damages that occur during flash floods, but water is a powerful force and most mitigation is to no avail. The funds from DHSEM for relief from the disaster are absolutely necessary for recovery and continued operation of the acequia systems.”

“This emergency declaration is a major step in Socorro County’s recovery,” said DHSEM Secretary Bianca Ortiz-Wertheim. “With this executive order, the county will have the funds they need to repair damaged roadways and critical irrigation systems, such as the La Joya Acequia and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. Moving forward, our department will continue to work closely with local, state, and federal partners.” 

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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. The New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office is part of DHSEM beginning on July 1, 2021.