If FEMA's assistance doesn't arrive on time, what should you do during hurricane season?

Nick Natario Image
Tuesday, June 11, 2024 1:39AM
If FEMA's assistance doesn't arrive on time, what should you do during hurricane season?
While work is being done to help victims of the recent severe storms in southeast Texas, emergency leaders are gearing up for what could come next.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After being approved, some Houston-area neighbors are still waiting for assistance following recent wild weather, and the state agency handling it, we've learned, has asked for federal help.

From flooding, tornadoes, and wind events, wild weather has impacted so many neighbors across southeast Texas recently.

To help people, FEMA offered assistance.

ABC13 heard from a number of people who were waiting and contacted FEMA.

FEMA says the state took over, and the Texas Health and Human Services agency is in charge.

A spokesperson sent a statement to ABC13 saying:

"HHSC is working diligently to distribute funds to FEMA-approved disaster survivors. While we are answering calls as quickly and efficiently as we can, wait times may be higher than usual as our staff handles the increased volume of calls. FEMA has agreed to answer HHSC inquiries on their hotline while we expand our hotline capacity."

While work is done to help survivors of recent events, emergency leaders are gearing up for what could come next.

"This is when we start seeing more of those tropical storms and tropical weather that can lead to hurricanes," Houston Office of Emergency Management spokesperson Brent Taylor said.

Taylor said you want an emergency kit with a number of items, including water, food, medicine, and documents such as homeowners insurance.

Normally, the agency would have five days to alert neighbors. But with the warm gulf waters, things could change, as they saw last year with a storm that hit Florida.

"Went from a tropical storm to a category five in a day," Taylor said. "That's incredible. That's the kind of thing that we need to be aware of."

If you're impacted, here's what FEMA says you need to know. Inspectors may go to your home to verify any damage.

If you're not approved, it could just mean you need to submit more information. You can appeal the decision.

Assistance is not just for homeowners but for renters, too. The National Weather Service predicts it could be an above-active hurricane season, with as many as 25 named storms.

"I wouldn't say they should be freaked out, but I would say they should be prepared," Taylor said.

While there are some issues distributing money, if you need assistance, don't be afraid to still reach out. FEMA said neighbors have about a month left to apply.

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