Flood recovery efforts continue

Army teams with Southern Baptist Disaster Services for Texas flood relief.


This summer, as El Paso County, Texas, and Hatch, New Mexico were inundated with severe flooding, The Salvation Army and a large team of volunteers swung into action, undertaking a massive “mud-out” effort. The following, based on a report from coordinator Major Mike Olsen, describes the extent of the disaster and the recovery efforts.

After ten days of concentrated effort, including nearly 3,000 man hours of toil, cleaning out debris and removing mold from flooded homes, The Salvation Army announced that they had concluded the “de-mudding” and mold removal phase of recovery operations in Hatch, New Mexico.

With coordination, supplies, equipment, meals and other costs covered by The Salvation Army, trained Southern Baptist Disaster Services mud-out teams, assisted by local volunteers, cleaned out most of the houses. Baptist teams came from throughout New Mexico, as well as Utah, Idaho and California to participate in this Salvation Army-led project. Upon conclusion of the clean-up phase, 167 private homes will be cleaned out and rendered safe from post flooding mold.

The Salvation Army operated a flood recovery assistance center at the American Legion Hall in Hatch, under the supervision of Captain Christian Sibaja, who leads The Salvation Army in Las Cruces, New Mexico, about 45 miles south of Hatch.

Meanwhile, teams are working on removing mud from homes in El Paso, as the recovery effort continues. “The homes in West El Paso are the biggest challenge yet, as some have up to four feet of mud inside the residence,” reports flood recovery coordinator Major Mike Olsen. “If we continue to receive fresh, experienced clean-out crews, we hope to conclude the house clean-outs in El Paso shortly,” he added.

Major Ronald Wildman, overall incident commander for Salvation Army disaster response to both flood emergencies, credits the Baptist Disaster Teams, as well as the disaster team from the International ALERT Academy in Big Sandy, Texas, with making this clean-up a success. “Without the quick response and skilled experience of our Baptist brothers, we would still be looking at months of de-mudding and mold mitigation,” reports Wildman.

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