Recovery assistance must reach rural areas

 

Texas Coastal Bend residents are resilient - it's an inherent and imperative trait of the territory.

In the wake of the full brunt of Hurricane Harvey, Crossroads residents are starting to rebuild their lives and salvage what remains of their properties.

The catastrophic devastation of a Category 4 hurricane has left almost everyone needing a helping hand. Every aspect of life has been affected. Many are in dire situations. Some have lost their homes entirely. Their lives have been upended. State and federal relief workers deployed in the area must remember residents in all of the region's towns, especially the smaller communities, because they feel abandoned by those agencies offering help.

Jillian Carpenter, 31, a Bayside resident, said she feels isolated from any assistance as she and her family begin to make their home - and their town - inhabitable again.

Her message to relief workers is clear: "Don't forget about us."

Like many others, Carpenter anticipates she has months of work ahead to make things seem normal again.

The family returned to Bayside and discovered gaping holes in their roof, severe water damage inside and a large tree toppled onto their home, among other problems.

Carpenter's sister-in-law, Christy Carpenter, 39, said she also was frustrated by the lack of help.

"There's no one out here," Carpenter said. "There's no help."

Bayside residents are still waiting, she said, for officials to clear debris from roadways, restore power, repair water utilities and watch for potential looters.

In the small community of Tivoli, about 30 miles from where the storm made landfall, residents are trying to cope with a nightmare.

Heather Meadows and her boyfriend spent Sunday assessing the damage caused by winds above 100 mph that ripped off their tin roof.

"How do you come back from this?" Meadows asked.

So far, residents have helped each other get through this disaster, but more help - outside help - is needed for those whose property and livelihoods have been devastated.

Federal and state help is needed throughout the Crossroads to recover from this disaster. And as the help arrives, relief workers need to make sure they reach every corner of the region.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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