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Shelter closes for those displaced by Chaves County tornadoes


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A Red Cross shelter established to service people displaced by the tornadoes that hit Dexter and Hagerman Tuesday evening, has closed.

The shelter stationed at the Lindell Andrews Community Center at 501 E. Argyle St. and operated by the New Mexico Chapter of the Red Cross in conjunction with Church on the Move of Roswell, was disbanded Friday, according to Robert Barber, a public information officer for the Red Cross’ response to the tornadoes in the area.

He said the shelter closed because the operations being carried out by the Red Cross in the area are coming to an end and the shelter wasn’t being utilized by local residents.

The shelter had the capacity to service up to 100 people, but only one person stayed there, Barber said.

“All of them had seemed to be able to find places to stay with their relatives or friends,” Barber said. A lack of people staying at shelters is very common in small rural communities throughout the southwestern U.S., he said.

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Tuesday night at least one or possibly two tornadoes struck Dexter and Hagerman, knocking out electricity and inflicting damage on the two agricultural communities.

In all, 11 Red Cross volunteers — some from as far away as Tucson, Arizona — and one paid staffer from Roswell helped with relief efforts in Dexter and Hagerman. He said that at any given time, Church on the Move would have anywhere from five to 20 people on site.

Five volunteers from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief — an organization that aids communities in the aftermath of a natural disaster — helped prepare the meals.

Barber estimated over four days in the area, the Red Cross served or delivered 1,000 meals to first responders, people impacted by the storm and volunteers who assisted with the cleanup of debris.

He said one day, 125 volunteers from multiple organizations reported to the incident commander in charge of the response and recovery effort.

Red Cross volunteers also met with residents whose homes were demolished or sustained damage to help them file paperwork for assistance.

The paperwork will match up residents impacted by the storm with other nonprofits that can provide assistance and also supply people with a small stipend for food and to cover other expenses associated with recovering from the tornado, Barber said.

The Red Cross estimates 11 homes in Dexter and Hagerman were total losses — unable to be repaired — while another seven sustained serious damage from the tornado.

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