EDINBURG, RGV – Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has welcomed President Trump’s issuance of a federal disaster declaration for Hidalgo and Cameron counties in response to recent significant flooding.

Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Gov. Greg Abbott’s federal disaster request for Individual Assistance for Hidalgo and Cameron counties on Friday.

George P. Bush

“Today President Trump issued a much-needed federal disaster declaration in response to devastating flooding in the Rio Grande Valley,” Bush said. “When the flooding began, my team and I traveled to the RGV to meet with local officials from all of the counties affected. I am committed to advocating for residents and we are ready to help RGV communities recover.”

Bush pointed out that the Community Development and Revitalization (CDR) division of the Texas General Land Office administers both short- and long-term housing recovery missions for the state of Texas. Two weeks ago, Bush visited the Rio Grande Valley to discuss the recent storms with Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council Executive Director Ron Garza.

Congressman Henry Cuellar is also pleased to see the Trump Administration issue federal disaster declaration for Hidalgo and Cameron counties.

“I am very pleased with the authorization of FEMA disaster funding for Hidalgo and Cameron counties. Residents and business owners have suffered catastrophic property damage and loss after unprecedented severe weather and flooding in late June. My colleagues Rep. Filemon Vela, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, and I sent a letter to President Trump expressing our support for Governor Abbott’s request. We requested that the President issued a disaster declaration for these counties and any counties that may rise to the level of need in the future,” Cuellar said.

Henry Cuellar

“We also asked for him to direct federal agencies to expedite delivery of all forms of federal disaster assistance for which the state is eligible. Most recently, my office contacted the White House and FEMA to follow up on our initial request and to expedite the process.”

Cuellar said the recent flooding showed how “strong” Texans are in the in the midst difficult times.

“On behalf of my constituents, I want to thank Governor Abbot for requesting the authorization of FEMA disaster funding, and the President and his Administration for their action in this matter. I also want to thank our first responders, charities, organizations and volunteers who did not look the other way and extended a hand of help to those affected by the severe weather in Hidalgo and Cameron counties. Together, we will come out of this hardship stronger than ever before.”

Cuellar pointed out there are two types of disaster declarations provided for in the Stafford Act: emergency declarations and major disaster declarations. Both types of declaration authorize the President to provide supplemental federal disaster assistance. However, the events related to the two different types of declaration and scope and amount of assistance differ.

Vicente Gonzalez

U.S. Rep. Gonzalez is encouraging residents to apply for this assistance through FEMA.

“I would like to thank local, state, and federal officials for their combined efforts to assess the damage in Cameron and Hidalgo Counties,” Gonzalez said. “I thank President Trump for approving our request,  which will allow us to recover and rebuild. I urge all people affected to seek assistance from FEMA. Our office stands ready to assist on Monday morning.”

Gonzalez said individuals in Cameron and Hidalgo Counties can register with FEMA the following ways:

Gov. Abbott requested assistance following his visit to Hidalgo County’s Emergency Operations Center in Edinburg. There he received a briefing from local officials on the flooding and ongoing response and recovery efforts.

“I thank the President and his Administration for their swift response to aid Texans in the Rio Grande Valley as they continue to recover from these devastating floods,” said Governor Abbott. “Going forward, the State of Texas will continue to work with local leaders to ensure the needs of those affected by the floods are being met.”

As damage assessments continue to take place, Abbott could add to the federal declaration and request assistance for additional counties.

Meanwhile, Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia and the county’s Office of Emergency Management says county residents whose homes or businesses were damaged from recent storms and flooding may be eligible for federal assistance.

Garcia said residents who suffered damages from the June 20 and 21 storms are encouraged to register with FEMA by calling 800-621-3362. Once registered, residents can expect to receive an application from the Small Business Administration.

“It is important to fill out the application, whether a resident is interested in an SBA loan or not, to qualify for full FEMA benefits. Once registered, an inspector will be sent to the resident’s home. There is no charge for the inspections,” a news release from Hidalgo County stated.

Ramon Garcia

Garcia said that lthough the county has not received confirmation, it is likely that a Disaster Recovery Center will be open soon. A Disaster Recovery Center is a readily accessible facility where applicants may go for information about FEMA or other disaster assistance programs, for questions about individual cases and for assistance registering for aid.

The Office of Emergency Management pointed out that disaster assistance for homeowners and renters may include grants to help pay for rent, temporary housing and home repairs, as well as other serious disaster-related needs. The goal of the assistance is to repair the home to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition. Up to $33,000 is available for home repair, which may include:

  • Structural parts of a home
  • Windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, cabinetry
  • Septic or sewage system
  • Well or other water system
  • Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system
  • Utilities
  • Entrance and exit ways from the home, including privately owned access roads
  • Blocking, leveling and anchoring of a mobile home and reconnecting or resetting its sewer, water, electrical and fuel lines and tanks.

Residents with damage received from the recent storms and flooding are encouraged to register by calling FEMA at 800-621-3362.