We will recover together
By George P. Bush - Guest Column
Sept. 13, 2017 at 5:06 p.m.
Victoria is the crossroads of our vibrant coast, connecting south to north and east. You have been tested by one of the strongest hurricanes in Texas history. Today, the Texas coast is facing one of the longest and most difficult recoveries in our state's history.
The feeling of uncertainty is unimaginable to those who have never experienced it, but you are not alone and we are in it with you for the long haul. Immediately after the storm passed, I drove down to see to visit with those who have been helping with rescue and recovery efforts in Corpus Christi and Rockport. I met up with the members of the Texas General Land Office's (GLO) Hurricane Task Force and the folks they are coordinating with to assess damage and begin the work necessary for local residents to return.
As we continue to work in the community on short-term recovery, the General Land Office's Coastal Resources and Oil Spill Prevention and Response teams are conducting debris cleanup and removing derelict vessels that have clogged Texas' waters along the coast. The GLO's Community Development and Revitalization team is focused on long-term disaster recovery by documenting and reporting Hurricane Harvey impacts. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Ike, Dolly and Rita, the GLO has served as the lead state agency in partnering with local leaders to rebuild communities and improve infrastructure. Our mission is to make the transition from short-term to long-term recovery and community revitalization seamless.
I continue to talk with Gov. Greg Abbott, our state agency partners, members of the Texas Congressional Delegation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure our great state gets this critical funding to meet needs resulting from this disaster. For these efforts to be successful, we need the help of those who are working in the communities.
As FEMA assessments continue, we must report the damage and needs of your community. We are hopeful that Congress will make a special appropriation for Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds. Thorough documentation by those in communities affected by Hurricane Harvey will not only help you receive short-term funds through FEMA and other sources, but it may also play a role in determining how much money the state receives through appropriations for long-term recovery efforts.
If previous disasters in Texas are an indicator, recovery from Hurricane Harvey will be a long and arduous process, potentially taking over a decade to complete. My GLO team members and I are committed to working with you and for you throughout this process, revitalizing communities and building back a stronger Texas coast. We are in it with you for the long haul.
George P. Bush, Texas land commissioner, oversees coastal protection and manages long-term recovery efforts from natural disasters including hurricanes and floods.