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Feds still assessing damage from flooding

A home is flooded in Chamita area near the junction of U.S. 84 and 285 on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (Courtesy Rio Arriba County)
A home is flooded in Chamita area near the junction of U.S. 84 and 285 on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (Courtesy Rio Arriba County)
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No decision yet on whether disaster aid will be offered

Federal officials assessing damage from last month’s flooding are weighing whether New Mexico homeowners should qualify for individual disaster assistance, a state official said.

But a Federal Emergency Management Agency official warned that the damage assessment process is ongoing and no decisions have been made whether to provide money to homeowners.

FEMA officials have visited 14 New Mexico counties since heavy rains in early September filled rivers and damaged public and private property statewide.

No statewide damage estimates were available on Monday, said Estevan Lujan, spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Gov. Susana Martinez is seeking a federal disaster declaration that would make cities and counties eligible for federal money to pay for roads, bridges and other public facilities.

FEMA officials also visited the state last week to consider whether FEMA should extend individual assistance to homeowners, Lujan said.

Stephanie Moffett, a spokeswoman for FEMA region 6 in Dallas, confirmed that the agency has assessed damage to private property in some areas. But she warned homeowners not to expect federal money for individuals.

“I think it’s a little early to talk about that because we just completed the PDA (preliminary damage assessment),” Moffett said.

Officials have declared local disaster declarations in 14 counties. They are: Catron, Chaves, Cibola, DeBaca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Guadalupe, Los Alamos, Mora, Sierra, San Miguel, Sandoval, Socorro and Torrance.

Other jurisdictions are Anthony, Farmington, Las Vegas, Rio Rancho, Roswell, Sunland Park, Bernalillo and Corrales, the Navajo Nation and the pueblos of San Felipe, Santa Clara and Zuni.

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