Despite pandemic, South Texans must document storm damage precisely before FEMA steps in

When Gov. Greg Abbott toured the South Texas border region Tuesday he brought along the regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency who Abbott said was here “to see firsthand about the challenges that exist.” But on Wednesday, Hidalgo County officials put out a statement saying FEMA “has NOT arrived” to assist after Hurricane Hanna and that caused some confusion. So where is FEMA? And is the federal agency helping as thousands remain without electricity and homes remain flooded in the Rio Grande Valley? The short answer is yes. But it is very complicated and involves federal statutes and protocol, state guidance and a lot of local self-reporting of damage to document affected areas, which is tricky especially in this low-income border region that is one of the nation’s worst hot spots for COVID-19 right now.

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