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.

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