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Socorro City Council approves disaster declaration following flood
By: Stacey Welsh
SOCORRO, Texas -- The Socorro City Council voted to approve a declaration of disaster for the city. Socorro Mayor Jesus Ruiz signed a declaration of disaster on Tuesday that does not require council approval, but only lasts for one week. According to the Texas Government Code, the declaration of disaster in effect Thursday will last for 30 days.
Ruiz said a disaster declaration allows city crews to help clean up roads damaged by flooding on private property. While Ruiz said private property owners have not restricted city cleanup crews so far, a disaster declaration allows the city to continue applying for grants from the federal government.
"It's a private road, but it's still used by the police officers and firemen and school buses, and it's damaged right now. We can go ahead and try to fix as much as we can," Ruiz said.
Thunder and Coker roads were some of the hardest hit areas by last week's flood. Ignacio Sierra owns a ranch on Coker and said he has been relying on help from neighbors to clean about 8 feet of mud from his stables.
Socorro resident Kay Rowan said she has been helping a friend whose house on Thunder Road was inundated by about two feet of water.
"It's pretty extensive. There's a total loss of all the furniture. It's pretty much all gone and then they're going to have to cut out sheet rock," Rowan said.
Volunteers from the Texas Southern Baptist Convention are also helping clean homes on Thunder Road after getting a call about the damage from a local church.
"If you don't have insurance or anything, that's your life savings. Everything you've accumulated over your life. That's your furniture being put in that dumpster," volunteer James Bell said.
For now, Ruiz said the city plans to use funds from its recently approved budget to buy equipment it needs for the cleanup.