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Poverty, lack of infrastructure adds to severity of San Eli floods

Updated: Monday, September 30 2013, 03:47 PM MDT
Poverty, lack of infrastructure adds to severity of San Eli floods story image

By: Genevieve Curtis
SAN ELIZARIO, Texas -- Flood clean up and relief in San Elizario could take several more weeks.

The floods left a mark in the history books but they also left the town soggy, soaking and swamped.

"It's, it's sad, it's hard to hold on because we work so hard to build and then the water is going to destroy, if I can't remove the water, pretty soon it's going to make the mobile home collapse," Ana Ramirez told KFOX14 on Friday as standing water surrounded her homes.

The floods took many by surprise and many are still in need of assistance.

"It definitely shows that maybe we aren't as prepared as we need to be for situations like this because there is still so much that needs to be done. There are still families who don't have their homes and need clothes, need a place to live and need help rebuilding," said state Rep Mary Gonzalez.

Poverty, haphazard housing and a lack of infrastructure compounds the damage. Roads wash away, septic lines break, dirt engulfs homes and homes collapse.

"The combination of all these things creates a more serious effect than I think most people realize," said Gonzalez.

Monday, KFOX14 met with families still figuring out what to do with their water logged homes. Several said the floods left behind a distinct smell.

Currently the county and other agencies are trying to put a price tag on the damage. County Judge Veronica Escobar called a meeting with the various municipalities and agencies. She said it is unlikely they will meet the financial requirements needed to issue a disaster declaration.

For now, they're going to have to push philanthropic efforts to help those affected.

But helping out when others are in need is something Gonzalez said the community does best.

"That's what I love about El Paso, whenever there's a need people come to support," said Gonzalez. As a child, Gonzalez said her home burn to the ground and it was the community that helped her family get through the difficult time.

"I hope we remember the families that are affected and continue to support them the way I was supported when I was younger," said Gonzalez.

The Red Cross said they have some volunteers coming in from Dallas to help and they're in the process of sending assessment teams out to survey property damage.

Poverty, lack of infrastructure adds to severity of San Eli floods
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Residents living in the county suffered the most damage when heavy rainfall hit the Borderland. Cleanup efforts are underway and your help is needed. KFOX14 and The Salvation Army are teaming up to rebuild what they've lost.

Supplies Needed:
Shovels
Brooms
Mops
Cleaning
Agents
Buckets
Sheet Rock
Roofing Materials

Supplies can be dropped off at: 4300 E. Paisano

Donate Online: www.salvationarmyelpasotx.org
Call to Donate: 915-544-9811

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