(Houston, TX) – As Hurricane Harvey’s first year anniversary approaches, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) reflects on this historic storm that devastated southeast Texas with unprecedented flooding and destruction. Harvey was the most extreme rain event in U.S. history - close to 50 inches of rain fell during a four-day period.
Harvey claimed 36 lives in Harris County alone and led to one of the largest rescue efforts in Texas history. More than 300,000 vehicles and up to 160,000 homes and businesses were damaged. Damages are expected to exceed $125 billion.
“Harvey presented a tremendous test of strength for our region, especially for residents still trying to recover from previous floods,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “Our area had been impacted by severe flooding for three consecutive years prior to Harvey.”
Harris County has had five declared disasters since 2015. A year after Harvey, it is clear that the path to recovery continues and will require an unwavering effort from all levels of government, the public and private sector.
“Our priorities rest on helping communities recover and backing flood control projects to make our county more resilient,” added Emmett. “We must all work together to accomplish this.”
To date, the federal government has provided $800 million in housing and other disaster related expenses, and close to $260 million for public assistance projects. Most recently, an additional $1.1 billion was granted to fund Harris County recovery projects.
Harris County will oversee the allocation of $214 million in federal funds to help rebuild and repair single-family homes and an additional $119 million will go toward the construction of new single-family homes. More than $204.5 million will go to assist with damaged multi-family housing projects and affordable rental projects in areas affected by Harvey. Another $200 million will go to purchasing homes that have flooded throughout the county.
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, established by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, has distributed more than $110.5 million dollars to more than 100 local non-profit organizations. This fund, now managed by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, helps with needs that are not met by other local and federal efforts.
“As we reflect on Harvey, we cannot forget the first responders, law enforcement, and community volunteers who dedicated their time to response and recovery,” said Emmett. “It is this neighbor helping neighbor spirit that helped us get through this year.”
Although hurricane season has remained quiet so far, HCOHSEM reminds residents that storms can develop quickly and without warning. As we enter the peak of hurricane season, residents are urged to stay informed by downloading the Ready Harris App or by following HCOHSEM onTwitter and Facebook.