Destructive Flooding Affects Us All
Jul 15, 2002 -
July usually means hot, dry weather for Texas. This July was anything but normal.
The great amounts of rainfall we experienced in a short period of time caused severe flooding. It took a serious toll on my constituents.
Of the 24 Texas counties that have been Presidential Disaster Declarations, eight are in the 21st District. The counties are Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Kendall, Kerr and Real.
Destruction like this has a devastating effect on families and property. I’ve seen it from a bird’s eye view in the air and from the ground in waist-high water level.
I toured the flooded areas first from the air with Governor Perry on Sunday, July 7. I flew over the area again with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Joe Albaugh on Friday, July 12. These views from above gave me a clear picture of the flood’s immensity. But a view from the ground gave me a better sense of the losses individuals faced.
I viewed the damage from the ground in several locations, including New Braunfels. I traveled there to offer help as a congressman, but also as a brother.
My sister lives in one of the neighborhoods hit hardest. Going with her, with ropes tied around our waists because the current was so swift, to get to the front door of her house gave me a sense of the difficulties so many people faced.
In a disaster of this proportion, people need prompt and personal assistance. FEMA has been responsive to those needs by expediting small business loans and disaster recovery grants.
I’ve worked with them to open Disaster Recovery Centers in Kerrville, Seguin, Bandera, New Braunfels and Canyon Lake. These centers will allow people to bring their paperwork and talk to an individual in person, not on the phone.
After the waters recede, the cleanup must begin. That’s why I requested emergency funds for damage repairs.
Canyon Lake is one area that needs help. Although the presence of the Canyon Lake Dam prevented worse destruction, the flooding caused damage to the facilities and area around the lake.
I’ve introduced legislation to earmark $12.3 million for damage repairs to Canyon Lake Dam, its access roads and public use areas caused by the flooding.
This has been a disaster situation for many Texans. We must act quickly to help them.