FEMA facing $1.3B budget shortfall due to damaging weather in Houston and across US

Pooja Lodhia Image
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
FEMA facing potential budget shortfalls due to damaging weather
Houston and other parts of the country have experienced severe weather, and as rebuilding continues, FEMA said it's almost out of money.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's not your imagination. This year, the Houston area and the country have experienced a lot of damaging, severe weather.

In fact, there have been so many weather emergencies the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is already getting close to running out of money.

Hurricane season is just now getting started, which is typically the most dangerous time of year for weather events on the Gulf Coast.

According to FEMA's latest report to Congress, the agency's major disaster relief fund could face a shortfall of more than $1.3 billion by August. And the new report doesn't even include the second half of May. Meanwhile, claims are still coming in from severe weather in Houston and other parts of the country.

"FEMA continues to work with the Administration and Congress to ensure sufficient funding is available. Without additional funding, FEMA will take steps prior to funding exhaustion to ensure resources are available to support ongoing lifesaving and life-sustaining activities and provide a reserve for initial response and recovery operations for a new catastrophic event," a FEMA spokesperson explained.

Experts say the biggest thing you need to remember is that if you don't have flood insurance, get it now.

It'll take 30 days to kick in, and it's a lot more dependable than federal aid.

"The average flood insurance check for Hurricane Harvey was about $116,000. The average disaster assistance check for Hurricane Harvey was just over $4,400. So, there's a huge difference in the amount of money you'll have to restart your life," Gilbert Giron, the FEMA Regional Flood Insurance Liaison for the Houston area, said. "And, as you can imagine, if you had three, four feet of water in your home, $4,000 is not going to be a lot to help you get back into your way of life."

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