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In Lower Valley Flood, Families Lose Everything

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POSTED: Monday, June 6, 2011 - 5:45pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 6:47pm

EL PASO - The outlook is bleak for dozens of people in the lower valley; their homes flooded because of a canal breach. The question remains - who's going to pay for it all?

The Ramos Court neighborhood in the lower valley looks like a disaster zone.

"This was a mess, it was up to here to the wall," said Dolores Valenzuela, pointing to her wall about two feet from her floor. She can't stay in her home anymore; if the smell of mildew hasn't gotten to her yet, her wet mattress sure has.

Water ruined her house on Saturday. The Water Reclamation District says a worker was repairing a gopher tunnel near this canal. Gophers had weakened the bank of the canal, and the water came flooding in.

"Everything's wet, and this is from inside the closet," she said showing us clothes.

Dolores can buy new clothes, but what's so hard for families like hers are the heirlooms, the photo albums - the things that can't be replaced.

"My mother in law has lived here for sixty years and we have been here taking care of my mother in law for 17 years," Dolores said, in tears. "It's not the same, staying with somebody."

"I'm frustrated because I'm not hearing things; who's going to pay for all my furniture?" asked resident Ron Navejas. "All my damage, I know its material stuff but, I lost everything."

He thinks he's lost about $5,000 worth of stuff not including the structural damage to his home.

"This neighborhood has been fighting for drainage, maybe it wouldn't have been as extensive, the damage," Navejas said. "Maybe we would've had a foot of water not to three to four feet."

"It was quite devastating, you feel sorry for the people because its a real humble community," said Jesus Reyes, the general manager of El Paso County's Water Reclamation District. He says they're doing their best to help the 18 homes affected. They've contracted with two companies to start the cleanup and are also working with the Red Cross.

"We have filed a claim with our insurance company, we're awaiting hearing back from them," Reyes said.

If the insurance company doesn't pay, they'll have to reach out to FEMA. This disaster is far from over.

"I'm afraid they're going to leave us standing in the cold," Navejas said.

"it's not the same as being in your house," Dolores said.

If you'd like to lend a hand to these families, call Belinda Ochoa at 915-841-1802.

Comments News Comments

Guys I´m not to clear on this: The Water Reclamation District says a worker was repairing a gopher tunnel near this canal. Gophers had weakened the bank of the canal, and the water came flooding in. So they caused the damage. Issue resolved: THEY MUST PAY THE DAMAGE! Can you put video of the Gopher hole, the worker and a step by step path of the flooding?

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