Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

Hurricane Harvey was one of the largest and most intense hurricanes to strike Texas, and recovery will be ongoing for years. The size and scope of this disaster shed light on the long-standing need for better coordination between federal, state, and local entities.

From hurricanes to wildfires, mother nature to man-made catastrophes, counties are the first responders when disaster strikes, and they are still there working to repair their communities long after state and federal authorities leave.

We can’t stop the next storm from happening, but with the lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey, we can be better prepared for any natural disaster.


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Additional Information


Watch this video about the role of the county judge in a disaster


Key Points

  • Emergency housing after disaster is essential. The state can prioritize addressing housing needs immediately after a storm, connecting residents with housing quickly, and prioritizing damage appraisal and grants or loans for housing for low to moderate income workers.
  • Debris removal is essential to securing communities. Counties often lack sufficient local reserves to adequately respond to this immediate need. A disaster reilef fund could provide immediate support to local entities, pre-qualify debris removal contractors, and pool debris removal assets to ensure proper allocation.
  • A strong state and local partnership saves time, money, and most important of all, lives. We need a streamlined system that cuts out bureaucratic hurdles, provides timely and accurate information, and empowers local communities.

Related Articles

How will Texas help Harvey-ravaged communities?

Texas Tribune, Feb. 13, 2019

In September 2017, weeks after the remnants of Hurricane Harvey ravaged his city, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner sparked what became a high-profile spat with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott...

Federal funds awarded to Harris County for flood tunnel feasibility study

Community Impact Newspaper, Feb. 12, 2019

The Harris County Flood Control District was awarded funding for a feasibility study on building a flood tunnel. The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded 2018 Disaster Supplemental funding of $320,000 to the district to conduct the...

Ted Cruz and Gov. Abbott urge administration to release billions for Hurrican Harvey

CBS Central

U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), Governor Greg Abbott, and Texas members of the U.S. House of Representatives today sent a letter to Acting Director Russ Vought of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urging him to...

Rebuild Texas Fund announce $1.5 M in funding to help prepare communities for future hurricanes

Crossroads Today, Feb. 1, 2019

The Rebuild Texas Fund is announcing $1,500,000 in grant funding to help communities affected by Hurricane Harvey prepare for future hurricane seasons...

Governor, top Texans in Congress ask Trump not to raid Harvey aid for border wall

KVUE, Jan. 15, 2019

Nearly two-dozen high profile Texas officeholders sent President Trump a letter Tuesday imploring him not to use Hurricane Harvey relief funds to build a border wall...

The Long Road to Recovery

County.org, Oct. 1, 2018

First there was shock over the scope and intensity of Hurricane Harvey, a mega-storm unlike any seen in this state. Then came the valiant rescues and emergency operations...

Clerks Rushed to Reopen After Hurricane Harvey

County.org, May 1, 2018

As Hurricane Harvey came roaring toward the Texas Gulf Coast in late August 2017, word went out in Refugio County to evacuate. But County Clerk Ruby Garcia and her husband chose to hunker down at home because their dog gets carsick when he travels...

The Forgotten Devastation of Hurricane Harvey

Next City, Apr. 30, 2018

The smallish, three-bedroom, blue-green house in the middle of Port Aransas is rather ordinary. Built in the 1970s, the neighborhood a mix of RV trailers and palm trees, on a narrow street with no sidewalks...

Here's the Costly Price Tag of Hurricane Harvey Cleanup in Aransas County

Caller Times, Mar. 15, 2018

Henderson County officials are once again applying for an indigent defense grant to offset part of what the county spends for defendants who can't afford to hire their own attorneys...

Gov. Abbott extends disaster declaration for counties affected by Hurricane Harvey

Kiii.tv, Jan. 17, 2018

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott extended the State Disaster Declaration for 60 counties in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey on Wednesday...