RUIDOSO, N.M. -- In July and August, homes and bridges were washing away in Lincoln County, N.M., causing nearly $30 million in damage.
But this week the Federal Emergency Management Agency said
no to helping residents out with individual disaster assistance, because the
majority of homes were second homes.
If FEMA would have granted New Mexico's application for
individual assistance, residents could have applied for a small business
administration loan, and then got some type of reimbursement.
Now if residents apply and are granted a loan, they will
have to pay it all back themselves.
Reynaldo and Candice Valcarcel of Lincoln County were
applying for an SBA loan at the agency’s temporary office in Ruidoso Wednesday
afternoon. They are taking on a more than $20,000 bridge rebuilding project
themselves, because FEMA bowed out.
“FEMA was no help, and the County hasn't been any help
either. “We lost access to our house and we can't get to it directly anymore,”
said Reynaldo Valcarcel.
They said they don't understand how some communities get
bailed out over and over in natural disaster prone areas.
“In a hurricane area where you're going to get a hurricane
every couple of years, FEMA comes along and continues to rebuild and continues
to put their infrastructure in place. I don't understand that,” said Valcarcel.
And while FEMA rejected the States request for individual
assistance, the Small Business Administration said it would do everything it
“Our agency is able to provide low interest disaster loans
to homeowners, renters as well as small businesses and nonprofit
organizations,” said Ben Raju, information officer with the U.S. SBA.
It's a step those affected would have to take anyway if FEMA
were to help. But now, after the loans are distributed, FEMA will not help pay
“Any time a disaster impacts an individual, it's definitely
an emotional state. In this situation I think more and more people are just
happy that the SBA is there to provide the type of assistance that we are,” said
Until something comes through, the Valcarcel’s will continue
to take the path to their home that's far up the street, through two gates, and
across a neighbors pasture, disrupting the livestock.
“I would say it takes us easily twenty times as long to get
to the house as it used to be,” said Valcarcel.
Residents can head to Eastern New Mexico University in
Ruidoso until Oct. 16 to apply for a loan at the temporary SBA office.
Applications can also be filled out online. The deadline is December 1 for
FEMA Denies Assistance For Flood Damage
October 3, 2008