If affected by a natural disaster, register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at disasterassistance.gov.
For questions about Hurricane Harvey assistance, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-463-7771.
Visit Rebuild Texas to learn more about other Harvey rebuilding resources.
Once the event is over, you should first contact your emergency management coordinator, your Federal Emergency Management Agency community contact, or county officials to determine whether it is safe to return home if you have evacuated. Additional key steps to take following an event include
- Being careful entering buildings,
- Avoiding any flowing water,
- Call your local flood insurance representative and begin the process of recovery by filing a claim
- Determining if individual assistance, home disaster relief, or state disaster reimbursement are available.
In addition to taking the critical steps listed above, read the additional advice and details below to better recover once the waters have receded.
What To Do Immediately
Certain actions should be taken immediately to ensure your safety, minimize further damage to your belongings, and begin the recovery process.
To ensure your safety:
- Be cautious when entering buildings. Wear sturdy shoes and use only battery-powered lighting. Have a qualified professional check for broken utility lines, gas leaks, and electrical system damage.
Be aware of your surroundings and be careful! Just because the flood is over doesn't mean there is no danger.
- Roadways and structures can be compromised by floodwaters or damaged by debris in areas where floodwaters have receded.
- Stay away from downed power lines and avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged.
- A structure may have been moved from its foundation, so be careful of collapse, and of exposed nails/bolts or other fastening hardware.
- Wildlife may have found a dry place in your home, so be on the lookout.
- Mold will begin to grow on damp surfaces, so be aware of the potential for high mold counts if you or a family member is allergic or has asthma.
To begin the recovery process:
- Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Texas Disaster Mitigation Page or the Texas Hurricane Center, when applicable, for helpful information.
- Call your insurance representative. After the flood event you have 90 days to file a claim, so it is important to do this as soon as possible. Instructions for filing your claim can be found here. If you don't have flood insurance, you will need to depend on your own resources as well as those available to you through outside organizations.
- Talk to your community officials. Local officials include your emergency management coordinator, your floodplain administrator, and local law enforcement. Do not begin to repair your home until you speak with these individuals as there may be requirements for reconstruction.
- Photograph your damage. Take photographs of all the damage to your property for insurance purposes, including debris piles. This is especially important for objects you remove from your home.
- Keep all receipts. Document the cost of supplies bought and work done to prevent additional damage to your home (such as dry wall repair, cleaning supplies, boxes for packing salvageable items, or temporary accommodations). Some of these costs may be reimbursed by insurance.
For additional information on recovering from a flood, please visit Floodsmart.gov: The Road to Recovery.
There are many sources of support available following a flood. If you need assistance immediately after an event, contact your contact your Federal Emergency Management Agency community contact or county officials for more information. Aid from the Red Cross or other organizations is often available, and local personnel are frequently the best source of information on these types of resources.
Additionally, various sources of governmental assistance are available to individuals and communities recovering from floods and working to increase their flood resilience.
Disaster Declarations & Assistance
Disaster declarations can be issued at the local, state, and federal levels of government, with the type of assistance available depending on the level of government that declares the disaster.
Local Disaster Declarations
Local governments handle disasters through their emergency management plans. However, if the severity of the disaster is beyond the local government's capability, the local government issues a disaster declaration and appeals to the state for additional resources. This appeal is a necessary step if a community wants a State or Presidential Disaster Declaration.
State Disaster Declarations
When the State of Texas issues a disaster declaration, state reimbursement funds, supplies, equipment, materials, and facilities become available to assist with response. Additionally, the Governor's office can approve disaster grants to state agencies and local governments after they run out of emergency funds. Federal assistance programs are not triggered.
The following Texas agencies offer assistance after a State-declared disaster:
- The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (HOME Disaster Relief)
- The Texas Division of Emergency Management (State Disaster Reimbursement)
Presidential Disaster Declarations
Federal disaster assistance becomes available after a presidential disaster is declared. The Governor must request a disaster declaration from the President. Keep in mind that municipal and county governments play an important role in the presidential disaster proclamation process by requesting disaster declarations from the Governor.
Three types of assistance can become available after a Presidential disaster declaration:
- Individual Assistance
- Public assistance for state, tribal, and local governments as well as certain private, not-for-profit organizations
Hazard Mitigation Grants to communities
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency funds the Hazard Mitigation Grants Program, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management administers the Texas program
Other Pre- and Post-Disaster Flood Grant Programs
State and federal grant programs that communities can apply for on behalf of property owners to help mitigate future loss of property and life due to flood are also available. Property owners should work with their communities in order to participate in these grant programs. The grant programs have a cost-share component, and in most cases, the completion of a cost-benefit analysis is required.
Texas Water Development Board
The Texas Water Development Board administers two grant programs designed to improve community resiliency to flood. Other agency programs can provide financial assistance for recovery and resiliency efforts.
- The Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program provides federal funds to mitigate future flood damages to National Flood Insurance Program-insured structures. Mitigation actions that can be funded under this grant include, but are not limited to: acquisition, demolition, relocation, elevation, mitigation, reconstruction, and minor localized flood reduction projects.
- The Cooperating Technical Partners Program offers federal funds to partnering entities to assist with the development of flood risk maps and other associated risk products.
Texas Division of Emergency Management
The Texas Division of Emergency Management administers a Pre-Disaster Mitigation program. The program provides federal funds for hazard mitigation planning and for mitigation projects. The types of projects funded may include acquisition, demolition, relocation, elevation, mitigation, reconstruction, minor localized flood reduction projects, safe room construction, wildfire mitigation, and structural retrofitting.
Texas General Land Office
The Texas General Land Office has planning, design, and administrative responsibilities for the state's Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery grants. Grant funding is provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and is designed to aid in the disaster recovery process.
Disclaimer: The intent of the TexasFlood.org is to provide basic flood information before, during, and after a flood event. The data on this website represents the best available information provided to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) by its data contributors. The information on this viewer may not be displayed in real-time and should not be considered an “exact” representation of conditions in your area. Neither the State of Texas nor the TWDB assumes any legal liability or responsibility or makes any guarantees or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or suitability of the information for any particular purpose.