Flooding from monsoon rains has damaged several parts of the border wall built under the Trump administration in Arizona, with hinged metal panels reported to be disconnected and swinging freely and several flood gates reportedly being damaged.
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has confirmed the damages to the border wall, located along the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, after Kate Scott, founder of the Madrean Archipelago Wildlife Center, shared pictures of the damages on Twitter, reports The Tuscon Sentinel.
A CBP spokesman said the agency is assessing the damage that was caused by "historic" flooding in the area that came after prolonged drought conditions.
Other images, posted on Facebook, show other gates of the wall are stuck open and packed with sand and other debris.
The damages come after heavy rains fell near Douglas, Arizona last week, with a storm surge that may have reached as high as 25 feet at Silver Creek during the storm.
Flood gates are part of the wall along the Arizona-Mexico border, reports the newspaper. Agents are required to manually raise the gates to protect the wall from water and debris, which otherwise could cause parts of the wall to collapse, which has happened in years past.
According to the University of Arizona, the Douglas area alone has gotten 10-12 inches of rain between June 15 and Aug. 18.
So far this year, the region has seen almost double its average monsoon season rainfall, reports Gizmodo. This includes a storm that came through last Monday, with the National Weather Service reporting 2.15 inches of rain fell, causing flooding.
Toward the end of the Trump administration, the CBP and the Army Corps of Engineers rushed to finish out the border construction projects, including near Douglas and in a section of the wall going through the 2,639-acre San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge.
Scott described the damaged gates as being in a state of "disrepair" and Jose Manuel Perez Cantu, director of the nonprofit Cuenca de Los Ojos, told Gizmodo that he also knows of six gates at one location that were destroyed by the flooding.
The wall construction was funded through billions of dollars that were allocated after then-President Donald Trump declared the border situation a national emergency, and critics say the companies tasked with the construction weren't taking the environmental constraints in the region into consideration.
"It’s clear that these were not companies that really were taking the long-term integrity of the product into account," Myles Traphagen, the borderlands program coordinator of the Wildlands Network, told Gizmodo. "The border wall is a complete suck of money. We don’t benefit by any of that."
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