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Gov. Perry requests Presidential Disaster Declaration for four Texas counties

From the Office of Gov. Rick Perry

October 2, 2007

Government - Gov. Perry picture AUSTIN–In a letter sent to President George W. Bush, Gov. Rick Perry requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas as a result of severe storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Humberto beginning September 13, 2007. Humberto, which developed from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane in just over 12 hours, produced heavy rains and high winds in Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson and Orange Counties.

“The damage left in Hurricane Humberto’s path, combined with a year of unprecedented floods and natural disasters, has left a burden that exceeds the financial capacity of our state and local communities,” Perry said. “I respectfully ask that President Bush grant assistance to Texas so that our citizens may again begin recovering and rebuilding their homes, businesses and lives.”

According to weather experts, Hurricane Humberto struck the Texas coast after an unusually rapid increase in strength, causing damage, injuries and one fatality. The hurricane followed five months of disastrous weather events in Texas, which included tornadoes, record-breaking flooding, Tropical Storm Erin, and Hurricane Dean, which threatened the coast before making landfall in Mexico. Texas communities continue to recover and rebuild following this barrage of weather events which caused millions of dollars of damage to one-third of the state’s counties.

Preliminary damage assessments in the four counties, indicated by joint federal, state and local surveys, revealed the most severe impacts from Hurricane Humberto included more than 1,400 homes and 25 businesses. Preliminary Damage Assessments on public property, such as roads and bridges, are currently underway. Total expenditures, both state and local, are expected to exceed $279,000. The state’s final obligation will be determined upon approval or denial of the presidential request.

Texas’ Presidential Disaster Declaration request includes:
  • Individual Assistance including the Individual & Households Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, and Small Business Administration Disaster Loans
  • Public Assistance, which includes debris removal, emergency protective measures and repair of damage to public structures
  • Hazard Mitigation statewide, which entails to strengthen infrastructure against future disasters
Guiding the state’s response to Hurricane Humberto, Gov. Perry authorized the utilization of the following resources:
  • Texas Department of Transportation personnel and equipment for emergency road clearing and debris removal for the area
  • Texas Department of Public Safety personnel and equipment to assist in communications, coordination of resources, security, damage survey and search and rescue
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel and boats to assist with evacuations
  • Texas Military Forces personnel and high profile vehicles to assist with evacuations
  • Texas Engineering Extension Service rescue teams to assist with evacuations and swift water rescue
  • Texas Civil Air Patrol airborne photography for damage assessment in the areas of High Island, Port Arthur and Beaumont
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality technical advisors on permitting public water and wastewater systems and major industrial facilities, as well assistance Galveston County with obtaining a burn permit for disposal of vegetation debris
  • Health and Human Services Commission provided 28 truckloads of ice, 25 truckloads of water, and 1 damage assessment team
  • Salvation Army established canteens, clean-up kits and supplies and pastoral crisis counseling teams
  • American Red Cross is working with the affected counties by providing shelters, establishing points of distribution, and providing mobile feeding units
  • Texas Baptist Men provided shelters, kitchens and debris removal
  • 2-1-1 activated their centers and provided specialists to take disaster information calls.

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