Gila Bend suffers major damage after heavy rainfall

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Recent heavy rains resulted in significant damage in Gila Bend, where two people were reported killed by floodwaters and hundreds of buildings were damaged. Robert Rowley is director of the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management. He joined us for more on the floods in Gila Bend.

The flooding in Gila Bend was, “a very significant event,” Rowley said. He said the last he heard, there was almost 4 inches of rainfall, “and whenever you have that much waterfall in a short period of time and if it hits the right spot you’re going to see some significant flooding issues and that’s certainly what we saw down in Gila Bend.”

100 buildings have been damaged and two people were found dead and 30 people rescued. Rowley said that “everybody who had water in their homes are still affected, it’s a terrible thing to see when you get down there.”

Rowley added that many of the photos that have been shown are of the flooding and the waterfall but a sad thing to see is the mud and damage around peoples’ homes. He said that they have a long road ahead to recovery.

“We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can and that we’re providing any help that we can to get them back to recovery as soon as possible,” Rowley said.

He continued that first responders were there from the start helping people and then came the public works crews to help the roads department, trying to get the roads open again.

They believe they are more prepared for rain if it happens again and they are working towards getting the infrastructure, businesses and homes back up and running and living their lives.

Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management went to Gila Bend to assess the number of buildings and homes damaged. They hope to work to obtain State and Federal funding, but it could be “tough thresholds to get over for public assistance…and individual assistance.”

Robert Rowley, Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management Director

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