Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

FEMA Finishing its Flood Assessments – But a Declaration Could Take Months

Joy Diaz, KUT News
Richard Rivera inventories some of the things he could salvage from his home. FEMA investigators are looking to conclude their assessments soon.

In Onion Creek, the sun shone brightly Friday morning. It’s a welcome change from a week ago, when flood waters devastated the southeast Austin neighborhood.

But that’s not what’s giving survivors hope. The hope comes from seeing FEMA investigators taking pictures and measurements.

“We look at factors versus any threshold for this particular type of evaluation,” says FFEMA’s Jackie Chandler. She says after the assessments are complete, the agency will determine if Onion Creek qualifies for federal assistance.

What goes into FEMA’s assessment?

The agency will consider the number of destroyed homes, factor in the number of nonprofits helping out, and assess the resources available from the city, county and state.

For now, investigators are asking survivors like Richard Rivera to set aside their frustration and inventory their losses. “They want me to catalogue everything, serial number, when I bought it,” says Rivera.

FEMA investigators hope to complete their assessment this weekend. A determination for a federal disaster declaration could take months.

Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
Related Content