Regional
3:19 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

UPDATE: La Union Dam Breaks; Many Residents Without Services, Fire Station Flooded

UPDATE 2: The Dona Ana County Emergency Operations Center is providing drinking water, non-potable water and portable toilets delivered to the unincorporated village of La Union.

Locations are as follows

La Union Volunteer Fire District Station, 350 Telles Rd.
La Union Elementary School, 875 Mercantile Rd.
La Union Catholic Church, 1325 Mercantile Rd.

UPDATE 1:

An earthen dam just outside the community of La Union has breached, and the La Union Fire District Station remains inaccessible to heavy equipment due to flooding and ruts. A contingent of county staff are attending a community meeting at the La Union Catholic Church at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, to listen to community concerns, evaluate the situation on the ground and determine the next necessary steps.

Sand bags are still being delivered to and distributed from the La Union Fire District Station, but motorists entering the station are advised to exercise caution.

All heavy equipment from the fire station has been relocated to La Union Elementary School, where the community’s emergency-response activities are being staged. Field personnel on site are in touch with the Doña Ana County Emergency Operation Center, which has been activated for county-wide emergency coordination and resource allocations.

The Doña Ana County Flood Commission and the county Roads Department are working together to address the situation. Evacuations have been recommended for residents in the 15000 block of Las Alturas Drive near Las Cruces, as well as portions of Alvarez Road in and near La Union. Water, gas and wastewater service to about 300 residences in La Union is down.

At least two roads in the community are completely washed out, and there is no vehicular access to several homes. Some utilities are exposed, and extreme caution is advised in the affected areas. The New Mexico Department of Transportation and the Doña Ana County Roads Department are blocking off selected roads throughout Doña Ana County. Motorists are strongly advised to heed all posted road closures.

The Del Cerro Community Center has been activated as a shelter for families dislocated due to rain and flooding. The Doña Ana County chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting with shelter activities and is accepting donations of cash, which can be made by visiting the Red Cross website at www.redcross.org. Go to the tab titled “Donate Funds,” then select “Your Local Red Cross Chapter.” The billing form will use your ZIP Code to determine the chapter that will benefit from your donation. You may also call 1-800-733-2767 to donate, but please specify that donations are to be directed to Doña Ana County.

The Red Cross also is accepting donations of bottled water, non-perishable food, cots, chairs, blankets and clothes, which can be dropped off in Las Cruces at Fire Station No. 1 at 201 E. Picacho Ave.

Reports are coming in at this hour from Chaparral, Vado and La Union, where homes and neighborhoods are sustaining flood damage. The Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department will have staff in the field throughout the weekend to assist at community centers that need to be opened.

The Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners is expected to meet in emergency session at 9 a.m. Monday in the Commission Chambers of the Doña Ana County Government Center. The purpose of the meeting will be to issue a declaration of disaster and subsequently seek state and federal assistance.

Residents who need to report emergencies are advised to call 911, so that the proper resources can be prioritized and allocated.