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San Jacinto News Times - Local News

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Hurricane recovery efforts continue
San Jacinto News Times

 

By Ed Sterling
Texas Press Association

Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 17 extended for 30 days the state disaster declaration for counties affected by Hurricane Harvey, which pounded and flooded the Gulf Coast and moved deeply inland, spreading its destructive power. "As long as Texas families are fighting to recover, fighting with them," Abbott said. The 60 counties listed in the declaration will continue to be eligible for assistance as they recover and rebuild, the governor said. Abbott, who remains in regular contact with congressional leaders and the Trump administration, said he has continued to request funds to rebuild Texas. On Jan. 19, Abbott said he shared Hurricane Harvey survivors' aggravation over that fact that much-needed continuing federal disaster aid for Texas is bogged down in Washington politics. Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, who also serves as Texas' hurricane recovery czar, on Jan. 20 spoke to a group of newspaper publishers at a statewide press convention in Galveston. While delivering an overview of recovery efforts, Sharp expressed his frustration with federal sluggishness in sendi sng disaster aid to Texas. On the bright side, Sharp credited state agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas A&M Forest Service for their employees' work in debris hauling and other areas of need. Sharp described this, or any other major disaster recovery effort, as a "bottom-up" operation, in which mayors and county judges must apply for aid for their jurisdictions and scrupulously attend to paperwork and accounting requirements for state and federal relief efforts to move forward. Abbott, in his 15th weekly update on Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, said the Texas Department of Emergency Management estimates that more than 11.4 million cubic yards of debris have been collected, which is about 64 percent of the anticipated total. Also, as of Jan. 16 more than $12.6 billion in federal funds had been provided directly to Texans, including FEMA grants to households, National Flood Insurance Program claims payments and Small Business Administration disaster loans, Abbott added.

 

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