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Berino left with massive cleanup after floodwaters tear through
By: Gina Benitez
BERINO, N.M. -- Floodwaters rushed through Berino Thursday night leaving massive cleanup for residents.
Some water made its way inside homes, overturned graves and caved in roads.
"I walked over to the doors, noticed that there was mud and water coming in, looked out the window and saw the flood," said Pete Arredondo, a Berino resident.
Arredondo was at church when the floodwaters came through.
"We stopped the service, that's when all the water started coming in from those back doors. We had people up there and we started moving everything," Arredondo said.
He said the water was around 3- to 4-feet high.
"We spent about three hours keeping the water out. Pushing it out, cleaning it out. And now our concern is that our AC unit will be damaged," Arredondo said.
But the floodwaters didn't stop at Mission Betel.
Another usually sacred, quiet place is now a work zone -- as residents work to repair uprooted graves in the cemetery.
Some are still cleaning up their homes.
"I got nervous. I thought the whole house was going to flood," said Martha Maldonado, another Berino resident.
Others can't get in or out of them.
"Right now, we can't get out. We live towards the end of the street. There's no way. We have small cars so there's no way of crossing," said Susan Ortiz, a Berino resident.
Ortiz said it happens every year and each year, she and her family pump the water out themselves.
"County won't do anything about it, because it's a private road, and right now the damage is pretty much because of county, because they didn't do the dam right. And it overflowed," Ortiz said.
The Doa Ana County fire marshal says that dam is actually a temporary holding pond and was never built to control the water.
"It's going to keep happening if we don't get it fixed. And eventually, somebody will get hurt and we don't want that," Arredondo said.
"Berino is a small town but there's a lot of people here and there was a lot of people that were affected because of the water," Ortiz said.
There will be an emergency meeting tomorrow morning at the Mission Betel Church at 9 a.m. at 1155 East Berino Road.
County officials will meet with people affected by the storms and there will be officials there to assess the damage.
Berino residents are in need of shovels to help them push out dirt and debris that washed onto their property.
The Doa Ana County Health and Human Services Department is also accepting donations of bleach, disinfectant wipes, mops, detergent and electric skillets for affected residents.