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

Perry Appeals Denial of FEMA Benefits for Halloween Flood Victims

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News
Mike Espinoza gets help pulling damp sheetrock from the kitchen of his home. He and his wife waited out the sudden flood in the second floor of their Onion Creek home.

Gov. Rick Perry is asking President Barack Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Administration [FEMA] to reverse a decision denying benefits to individual victims of southwest Austin’s Halloween floods.

Fast moving floodwaters in the early hours of Oct. 31 last year – concentrated in the southwest Austin neighborhood of Onion Creek – claimed six lives and ruined hundreds of homes.

In a letter to the President, Gov. Perry writes:

The hardest hit area of Onion Creek consists of working families who, according to a Census Bureau report, have a median household income below-$40,000 - well below the state and national average. … While these communities are valiantly striving to recover, they are in desperate need of significant resources, beyond local, regional and state capabilities. This disaster has caused major disruption to the lives of these residents. Recovery will be a long and difficult process.

The letter goes on to ask President Obama for individual assistance for flood victims, including resources like transitional shelter, legal services, crisis counseling and more. You can read the letter here [PDF].

FEMA conducted an assessment of the Onion Creek region in November. While damages were large enough to draw federal assistance, and Obama has since issued a disaster declaration, the funds were not meant for individual assistance.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
Related Content