For the past two years, the Valley has experienced two flood events, but each has had very different results.
“The last flood, our numbers were about seven million out in damage. This year it’s almost doubled to tripled,” says Tom Hushen, emergency management coordinator for Cameron County.
The June 2019 floods are now two months in the past, but the recovery remains front and center for many Cameron County residents.
“Without us all working together, we wouldn’t even have a chance.”
The latest figures put damage totals near thirty million dollars for Cameron alone, largely attributed to the places that were flooded.
“Cameron was mostly infrastructure…roadways, things like that. This year it kind of switched over and it was Cameron County that received the brunt of it on home damages.”
The recovery process has led to more than $10 million awarded to residents from FEMA, and close to seven million from the Small Business Association. But there’s more work still to go.
“We estimated our damages in Cameron county with all the cities at a little over thirty million dollars. Now, are those going to be approved by FEMA? We’re still waiting to see on that,” adds Hushen.
And Cameron County knows that there is still much to improve on following two consecutive years of major flood events.
“Right now, our commissioner’s court is looking at trying to get a single drainage district to see if we can get our drainage districts for not only Cameron but Hidalgo, Willacy, all of those to be able to flow together so that we can eliminate these problems of this flooding we usually have every June.”
Despite flooding being an issue for two years in a row for places like Harlingen and La Feria, areas that were flooded in 2018 will not be eligible for this latest funding from FEMA unless they sustained additional damage in 2019.