DENTON, Texas -- For state, tribal and local governments in five New Mexico counties recovering from this summer's floods, repairing public buildings, damaged roads, and infrastructure by reducing or mitigating the impact of future flood events makes sense, according to disaster recovery officials.
The presidential disaster declaration of Sept. 13, 2010, opened the door for Federal Public Assistance, including state and federal cost-sharing mitigation funding in disaster-affected counties.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) work with state, tribal and local officials to identify and develop cost-effective mitigation projects designed to provide the security, strength, and sustainability necessary for communities to plan and prepare for a better and safer tomorrow.
The floods severely damaged roads and bridges in five counties. A few examples of mitigation practices that could make a difference in preventing damage during a future flood event include:
- Increasing the capacity of a roadway ditch by increasing its depth and/or width;
- Stabilizing road shoulders and embankments;
- Increasing the efficiency of culverts such as adding wing walls to increase the flow capacity and reduce erosion;
- Elevating a bridge deck to a level sufficient to pass anticipated flood flows; and,
- Relocating an entire building out of an area subject to flooding, outside the floodplain.
"It is a proven fact that mitigation creates stronger communities and allows them to break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction and repeated losses," said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman.
"For every dollar spent on preventive measures, an average of four dollars is saved," added John W. Wheeler, Cabinet Secretary for DHSEM.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.