FLOOD UPDATE: PUMPING, SANDBAGS, FOOD, WATER, LAW ENFORCEMENT, WATER DIVERSION

FLOOD UPDATE: PUMPING, SANDBAGS, FOOD, WATER, LAW ENFORCEMENT, WATER DIVERSION

Several pumps have been deployed to the Village of Hatch and have been moving water from downtown into drainage canals since 2 a.m. The pumped water eventually will be discharged into the Rio Grande.

Sandbags are being filled by adult and juvenile inmates at the Doña Ana County Detention Center, as well as by adult inmates at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Institution west of Las Cruces. Inmate labor also is being used to deliver sandbags to certain areas. Sandbags are being delivered 200 at a time to the Hatch area, as well as to various volunteer fire departments in susceptible areas. Sandbag allocations are limited to residents whose homes are in danger of flooding. In order to maximize the supply, sandbags are only to be used to protect doorways of inhabited buildings. Sandbags will not be distributed for the purpose of protecting rock walls, gardens or driveways.

The Doña Ana County Roads Department has heavy equipment standing by to deploy to hard-hit areas. By law, county equipment can be used only to clear public roadways. The equipment cannot legally be used to protect or clear private property.

The Doña Ana County Flood Commission is monitoring the condition of flood-control structures throughout the county, all of which appear to be holding strong.

Officials from the New Mexico Environment Department are inspecting food and water supplies in and near Hatch. Residents are advised not to consume or use tap water that is cloudy or murky. Additional chlorine is being added to the municipal water system to improve contamination-control. Any food materials exposed to floodwaters, including canned goods, should be discarded.

The U.S. Border Patrol has announced the suspension of immigration enforcement at this time in the flood-affected areas. Border Patrol officers are assisting with humanitarian aid and law-enforcement activities until the disaster abates.

County and Elephant Butte Irrigation District teams have completed repairs to the banks of an arroyo that breached Tuesday north of Hatch. That breach contributed to heavy flooding in the village. Crews will monitor the arroyo and other drainage channels throughout the day.

The Doña Ana County Emergency Operations Center remains fully activated and staffed to coordinate response and recovery activities in conjunction with the Hatch Incident Command Center.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7914.