Mora, NM

Opinion: The Bureaucracy Plaguing New Mexico Often Leaves Rural Communities Unprepared When Disaster Strikes

Daniella Cressman

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The people of Mora have struggled financially for quite some time. Many communities in rural New Mexico have. On the other hand, folks in affluent areas such as Santa Fe have had access to a lot more resources.

"In a time of disaster, we do not have time for bureaucracy. We do not have time for the correct politician to get credit before providing a resource. Local leaders cannot keep up with the extreme need, exhausted themselves. It’s time for the chronic underfunding of rural communities to end. Rural communities are not capable of handling the logistical burden of a disaster without immediate help. If this calamity ever falls on another New Mexico community, disaster commanders are needed on the first day of the crisis." —Antonia Roybal—Mack

It took a painfully long time for these people to receive the help they needed when they were in dire straits.

"The state’s response has been painfully slow, disorganized and largely inadequate. The fire started on April 16. The first incident commander arrived in Mora 12 days after the presidential executive order was entered and a full month after the fire started." —Antonia Roybal—Mack

Additionally, the small team of first responders located in Mora has been working with minimal resources, often dehydrated and hungry, while serving a community that desperately needed their help.

Sadly, scarcity has been their reality for far too long.

Mora has an emergency medical service that operates out of two hotel rooms and pays minimum wage. Qualified and educated first responders stay and do the work because it’s home. There has been chronic underfunding for decades, and the fragile system is now hanging by a thread. Today, these same responders have gone weeks in that hotel with no running water and no electricity, at times sleeping in their units because if they didn’t stay behind, others could die. —Antonia Roybal-Mack

On top of all of this, the firefighters have been forced to work with overused equipment.

They even had limited access to uniforms.

They didn't complain, but they shouldn't have been forced to work with compromised equipment when they were being faced with the monumental task of protecting the rural communities of New Mexico.

Across the valley, the volunteer firefighters, our homegrown heroes, have been operating under the same conditions because generators were tied up in state bureaucracy in Las Vegas, New Mexico. These firefighters continue on with overused equipment and limited uniforms. These heroes have been the life blood of Mora, feeding the elderly and keeping pets alive. They do it without complaint because it’s home and if they don’t save it, no one will. —Antonia Roybal—Mack

Money is important, but our humanity should always matter more.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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