Days after several areas of Brownsville were under water due to torrential rains, local officials set up food distribution centers to help those impacted.

The centers were opened Tuesday at the Cameron Count Precinct 1 Warehouse and the Brownsville Event Center, where motorists waited in line to receive bags of food, water and cleaning utensils to help with the cleanup of flood damage.

About 25 vehicles were already in line before the distribution center opened at 9 a.m. at the Precinct 1 warehouse on Browne Road, officials said. Workers handing out the food and those collecting the distributions wore facial coverings because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Sofia Benavides, Precinct 1 commissioner, said Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. was instrumental in setting up the food distribution.

“They called me early yesterday morning (Monday), and they were on it,” Benavides said. “The emergency management, the Red Cross, the state management, the city of Brownsville, they came together and this is what happened.

Benavides said she was out of town on Friday when the heavy rains started to fall but was in constant contact with her staff, making sure they were monitoring the flooding and going out to flooded areas to see what they could do to help alleviate it.

The commissioner said the rains came so fast that there was not enough time for the county to hand out sandbags. “We try and address it all the time, all the time,” she said.

According to the National Weather Service in Brownsville, east Brownsville–where the Precinct 1 warehouse is located–received up to 9 inches of rain.

“Overall, I think we fared pretty well,” Benavides said. “I know parts of the city, Minnesota (Avenue) I understand was under water. I have only seen that happen one time before and I think it was the 2015 rains … even 18 wheelers were stranded. It was just a lot of water all of a sudden and it wouldn’t stop.”

Diana Gonzalez was one of the motorists waiting in line at the Precinct 1 distribution site. Although no water made it into her home on Guaymas Street, which is off of FM 802 and Highway 48, she was concerned that it could happen. Her front yard was flooded with not only water but trash too.

“We have never experienced anything like this before,” she said.

Gonzalez said she has lived in her neighborhood for many years and has never seen the flooding get as bad as it did last Friday.

In the past, “when it rains it floods, but as soon as the rain stops it (the water) goes down. And this time it didn’t. It stayed flooded for awhile,” Gonzalez said.

A drainage ditch is located in front of her home. Gonzalez said had never had trouble in the past with the water not draining.

“It always goes down,” she said. “I’ve never had trouble, and this year the water stayed the following day. It was still there up until the evening until it went down Saturday evening.”

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