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A broad analysis of federal records finds that homeowners hoping to relocate out of flood zones in the U.S. don't have equal access to the main source of federal funding meant to help them.

Tropical Storm Imelda Left 5 Dead In Texas And Many Flooded. Will FEMA Aid Come Next?

Sep 23, 2019
(Brian Hawthorne/Chambers County Sheriff's Office via AP

Five deaths are linked to floods from Tropical Storm Imelda, the worst storm in Texas since Hurricane Harvey and one of the wettest tropical cyclones in the nation’s history, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 5 to May 11, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency encouraged Texans to begin or review their plans for enduring bad weather, flooding and, if necessary, evacuation.

FEMA is planning to sell off hundreds of surplus trailer homes in Texas through a General Services Administration auction.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent the trailers for temporarily homeless families after Hurricane Harvey struck in August 2017. But not all of them were used. Now surplus trailers are being auctioned online to the public with a minimum bid of $100 for trailers that range from 1 bedroom units, valued at $57,354, to 3-bedroom units with a value of $70,965.

This summer, the Trump administration transferred nearly $10 million away from the agency that responds to disasters and emergencies, redirecting it toward one of President Trump's top priorities — the deportation of undocumented residents of the U.S.

The funds transfer is prompting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cut back on training, IT security and infrastructure investments, according to a document sent to Congress and released by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

The former head of human resources at the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been accused of sexual harassment and other misconduct — including allegations that he hired women at FEMA as potential sexual partners for friends of his, according to The Washington Post.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long released a statement acknowledging "deeply disturbing" allegations of sexual misconduct by a former head of personnel at FEMA, without naming the individual.

More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, the island's power grid remains in shambles, and authorities say it will take months to fully restore electricity.

Nearly 90 percent of the island is still without power, which means millions of people remain without electricity weeks after the storm, says José H. Román Morales, president of Puerto Rico's Energy Commission, which regulates the island's electric power authority.

Erik Ryan and Mia Reynolds from San Leon, Texas, sit at the picnic table at their campsite in Bastrop State Park. Reynolds, who is currently on hold with FEMA, says that she has been through storms before.

"I did not want to wait around for a politician to tell me to evacuate. I saw the storm on the news and had a bad feeling. That's when I decided to rent a U-Haul truck and pull out."

Reynolds pauses as a an electronic voice comes over the phone: "Your wait time is now 154 minutes."

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

As soon as the floodwaters receded in East Houston, the Hernandez family got to work.

Facing tremendous need after Hurricane Harvey, Texas has made it easier for out-of-state health care providers to come and help.

As flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey continues in Southeast Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said the number of counties on the federal government’s disaster declaration has been expanded to 33. That expansion includes counties outside of Harvey's path that are helping evacuees in shelters – including Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis.

Hurricane Harvey is the first test of the Trump administration's response to a natural disaster. And much of that responsibility falls on the shoulder of the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, William "Brock" Long.

Long was confirmed as FEMA administrator by the Senate in June, just a few months ago, but he is not exactly a stranger to the agency. He was a regional manager there during the George W. Bush administration, and he went on to serve as Alabama's emergency management director.

"Top of the top"

Jerry Larson / Waco Tribune Herald, Pool

Fire Chief George Nors in the small town of West is ecstatic that the Federal  Emergency Management Agency has reversed its decision on disaster funding. 

NOAA

UPDATE: Friday, 5/31  The North Central  Texas Council of  Governments says online applications will be accepted starting Wednesday, June 5th instead of Monday. 

Original story: 

Starting Monday, the North Central Texas Council of Governments will take online applications for FEMA rebates on tornado safe rooms.  Officials say demand is growing after this month’s tornadoes in North Texas and Oklahoma.

Seattle Municipal Archives / (cc) flickr

Texas officials have proposed phasing-out federal funding for the women's health program through November after Washington said it was illegal to ban the participation of Planned Parenthood.

The Women's Health Program provides routine exams, contraception and preventive health services to low-income women. Until this year, federal funds covered 90 percent of the cost. But federal officials said they would cut funding after Texas lawmakers insisted groups affiliated with abortion providers be banned from taking part.