Gov. Bill Richardson directed Adjutant General Kenny Montoya to immediately dispatch more than a dozen New Mexico National Guard troops to Chama to aid in the relief effort from the recent heavy snow that blocked roads, damaged structures, and stranded residents.
Reports indicate heavy snow caused the collapse of part of a supermarket roof and is threatening other structures and residences.
“The New Mexico National Guard has extensive experience in disaster relief and this initial group will provide an immediate boost to the relief efforts in the most affected areas,” said the governor. “This is also an opportunity for the soldiers to get more experience in the snow while also helping the residents of Chama.”
The National Guard soldiers are a part of the Quick Reaction Force and specialize in search and rescue. The soldiers will be in Chama to assess the situation and report back to the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM).
“The National Guard is ready to help our fellow citizens however we can,” said Adjutant General Montoya. “After my personnel make an assessment on the ground, they will report back with an assessment as to how we can best help.”
The Guard contingent includes two Blackhawk helicopters and several high profile all-wheel drive trucks.
Tim Manning, Director of DHSEM, has activated the state’s emergency operations center to more closely monitor developments in Rio Arriba County and is prepared to send additional state resources as needed.
Governor Richardson signed an executive order declaring a disaster in Rio Arriba County which immediately makes available $750,000 in state disaster relief funds to aid in the situation in the Chama area.
Source: Office of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
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