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Gov. Ducey traveling to Gila Bend but not Miami-Globe area

Posted at 10:47 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 01:47:49-04

The Gila Bend community is still trying to recover from deadly and damaging flooding.

The town council held a meeting on Thursday to discuss the aftermath.

"Our fire department went through water that had electric current through it, to save people. That is outstanding courage; that is dedication," says Mayor Chris Riggs, Town of Gila Bend.

We're learning crews had to carry out nearly 30 rescues in the south part of town, to reach people on top of their roofs.

Unfortunately, not everyone made it out alive. The mayor was in tears as he recognized each of them, including Blanca Ruiz who was a fixture in the Gila Bend School District for years.

"I know the kids are really going to miss her. I know I will miss her, the whole community will," says Mayor Riggs.

Blanca's daughter broke down as she spoke with ABC15 about how great of a mother she was.

"She always taught us to be humble, and kind, and considerate to everyone," says Angela Chavez, daughter of Blanca Ruiz.

Governor Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency at the beginning of the week, making $200-thousand available for recovery efforts in Gila Bend. The governor, along with other state leaders, set to travel to the town Friday to speak with community leaders and tour damaged areas.

The Miami-Globe area in Gila County has been dealing with a similar situation.

"I don't know if he [Gov. Ducey] realizes the difference between Gila County and Gila Bend right now," says Marie Hamilton, Gila County resident.

Miami town manager, Micah Gaudet, sent out a press release Thursday pointing out: "No state official came to Miami to see the devastation of the post-fire flooding. If they did, they would have seen a resilient, community-led approach. The speed of our response is due to our wonderful community and everyone who continues to support us."

Gila County residents feel like they have nowhere to turn.

"I lost my car in the July 29th flood, bought a car last Saturday and that car is toast because of the flooding. Not to mention, my home is gone so... Governor Ducey, we kind of need you up here," says Hamilton.