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How FEMA and the Local Government Prolonged Harvey Relief Efforts

February 27th, 2018 Hurricane Harvey
Houston Flood Insurance Claim Attorney

Hurricane Harvey victims are growing weary of FEMA, the insurance companies, and government officials who are causing many delays and are always ready with a weak excuse as to why there is a severe lack of action. According to an alarming article from the Associated Press, recovery after Hurricane Harvey is abysmal, and certain aspects, such as availability of trailers and overall response, fall way behind the recovery efforts of Hurricane Katrina.

It seems as though FEMA and local officials have not learned lessons from other recent natural disasters and are not acting fairly or fast enough to help the thousands in need in Texas.

Let’s take a look at the top three troubling FEMA and Government delays:

1. The Government Did Not Act Quickly Enough to Distribute Aid

  • The action plan to distribute aid was not set until September 23, 2017 — nearly a month after Harvey hit
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott did not utilize the $11 million-dollar emergency fund which could have been used to help countless families
  • This fund could have been reimbursed by FEMA

To explain this lack of action to the thousands of Texans who were affected by Hurricane Harvey, Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s office stated that the delays are due to making sure they are using taxpayer dollars correctly.

2. FEMA and the Local Government Delayed Families in Need From Moving into Trailers

Another embarrassing setback was all of the delays with temporary housing trailers. FEMA and the local government were responsible for leaving thousands of families waiting for livable temporary housing. This was documented in our recent blog post about the trailer fiasco in Houston.

In fact, it took longer for Harvey flood victims to move into trailers than Hurricane Katrina victims more than a decade ago. Let’s look at these disheartening statistics:

  • It took 4x longer to house Hurricane Harvey victims in trailers than it did for Katrina victims
  • 900 families were placed in trailers by the first three weeks after Katrina
  • Trailer occupancy did not reach 900 until nearly five months after Harvey
  • Trailers were not available until 43 days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall
  • The local ordinance was finally lifted nearly six months after the storm to allow Houston residents to move into trailers on their properties

3. FEMA Is Forcing Thousands of Victims to Wait for Necessary Inspections to Assess Flood Damage

Adding more frustration to the serious recovery issues is that many Texans are still waiting on FEMA inspections, and are often disappointed by unfair results. As evidenced by the struggle Barbara Gillis faced when FEMA finally inspected her home and deemed it livable, despite its need for repairs.

The unfair assessment took away the support for a FEMA hotel that she had called home since the disaster. Unfortunately, she is forced to pay out of pocket to stay in another place since she can’t live in her leaking house.

Even the Mayor of Fulton has voiced frustrations over his own battle with his insurance company. According to reports he and his family have been forced to stay in their living room as mold and lack of electricity have made other rooms unsuitable to safely occupy.

FEMA is Praising Its Recovery Efforts, But Victims Have a Different Picture of Reality

Meanwhile, FEMA’s coordinating officer is praising his organization’s efforts. They even recently released this video to mark six months after Harvey.

This video positions FEMA as a hero by showing all of the progress that has been made, but noting that more needs to be done. However, Houston flood victims know that this glossy representation of their struggles is not entirely true.

It has been six months since the storm, and FEMA, the insurance companies, and local governments have put victims through so many delays and red tape that is impeding needed progress.

As a Houston flood victim, you have rights. If you are like many who are tired of waiting for claims to be processed, or who have received too little to repair, there is still hope.

If your home suffered damage during Hurricane Harvey, and you have wind and flood insurance, the experienced Harvey Flood Insurance Claims Attorneys can handle your entire flood and wind insurance claim for you. Contact us today at 713-863-0333

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