EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER ACTIVATED FOR FLOOD RESPONSE

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER ACTIVATED FOR FLOOD RESPONSE

The Doña Ana County Emergency Operations Center has been activated to respond to flooding in many communities south of Las Cruces. The areas hardest hit appear to be Chaparral, Anthony, La Union, Santa Teresa and the City of Sunland Park.

The Doña Ana County Office of Emergency Management is coordinating response efforts with various county departments, as well as with the New Mexico State Police
and the American Red Cross.

The Doña Ana County Detention Center is utilizing inmate labor to fill sandbags, almost 4,000 of which have been distributed to community volunteer fire departments for use by residents in the affected areas.

The Doña Ana County Fire Marshal’s Office has established command centers in the communities of Chaparral, La Union and Anthony. The American Red Cross has opened emergency shelters in the Gadsden High School gymnasium. Plans are being finalized to open Sunrise Elementary School as a shelter in the community of Chaparral.

Interstate 10 has been closed between Las Cruces and El Paso, and eastbound traffic is being stopped at Deming to prevent congestion in Las Cruces. Southbound traffic on N.M. 478 and N.M. 28 also is being blocked. McCombs and Stan Roberts roads in Chaparral also have been closed. Law enforcement is a joint effort of the municipal police departments, the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department and New Mexico State Police.

Police recommend that people in low-lying areas make plans to find higher ground in the event of flooding. Residents in areas that have not flooded are urged to stay put and delay travel.

County road crews are responding to the hardest-hit areas with heavy equipment. The Doña Ana County Flood Commission is monitoring retention dams for safety. No dams have breached or appear to be in danger of doing so.

Updates will be issued as more information becomes available.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.