Jefferson County – Hurricane Harvey Bulletin – Saturday 9, 2017

Judge Branick briefed Senator Ted Cruz in Beaumont Friday

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick toured Senator Ted Cruz around Beaumont today. Conversations centered on quick response by FEMA, temporary housing needs, critical water infrastructure, and assisting the Lower Neches Valley Authority (LNVA) in repair of non-working stations to expedite the authority’s ability to provide water to agricultural users. Judge Branick and Senator Cruz also had the opportunity to discuss community development block grant (CDBG) funding for navigation projects.

IMPORTANT: Note for Jeff. County residents who applied for FEMA assistance before 9/2

Residents who applied for FEMA disaster assistance prior to the Presidential Disaster ad received denial letters are encouraged to appeal the denial or re-apply. Senator Ted Cruz is planning to work with FEMA to reconsider the denied applications in light of the subsequent disaster declaration.

Governor Abbott to visit county tomorrow to discuss housing issues

Governor Greg Abbott is expected to visit Jefferson County tomorrow to discuss housing issues for affected residents.

Volunteers needed in Bevil Oaks to assist elderly

Volunteers are needed for recovery efforts currently being coordinated by State Representative Dade Phelan in the Bevil Oaks community. Please contact his office at 409-745-2777.

Jefferson County Courthouse to resume normal operations Monday

The Jefferson County Courthouse plans to resume normal operations on Monday, September 11. Residents who have business with the commissioners, county, or district courts should reach out to the respective offices for schedules and hours of operations.

Jeff. County Mosquito Control daily monitoring and conducting mosquito-landing counts

Jefferson County Mosquito Control is daily monitoring and conducting mosquito-landing rate counts and are forwarding to Judge Branick for review. The county does not appear to be having high counts of disease carrying mosquito populations, but continued spraying with land and air assets the past four days. State assistance with effort expected in the next few days.

Guidelines for debris removal in the unincorporated areas of the county

Residents in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County (Bevil Oaks, Northwest Forest, Nome, China, Hamshire, Labelle, Fannett, and Cheek) should follow a few simple guidelines when setting out debris for picked up. DRC, the debris removal company for the rural areas of the County, would like residents to place debris out for pick-up on the county right of way as close to the road as possible. Materials need to separated as follows: Vegetation-Trees, leaves, logs Spoiled Food and contaminated recyclables-Unusable food and wet papers Structural and building material- Drywall, lumber, carpet furniture, etc. Appliances-freezers, stove, washer and dryers Electronics-Televisions, computers, telephones, etc. Household Hazards-oils, batteries, paints, cleaning supplies, gasoline Having everything separated as best as you can will expedite the debris pick up. If residents have any questions about debris removal, DRC has set up aCustomer Hotline at 1-888-721-4372, which started taking calls on Tuesday, September 5, and will started debris pick-up on Thursday, September 7. It will take a few weeks before operations are fully up and running. So it may be a few days before they get to your area. DRC is contracted for the rural areas of Jefferson County and the Mid-County areas. The Cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur have contracted with other companies contracted for their citizens.

REMINDER: PODs open through the weekend in unincorporated areas of county

Judge Branick and Jefferson County Emergency Coordinator Greg Fountain are reporting that points of distribution (PODs) will be open in the unincorporated areas of the county at least through Sunday, September 10. For assistance locating the nearest POD, please contact Emergency Management at 409-835-8757.

REMINDER: Residents eligible for federal assistance at disasterassistance.gov

The federal government issued a Major Disaster Declaration for Jefferson County on September 2, 2017, which made county residents eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). All Jefferson County residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey are encouraged to apply for federal assistance at disasterassistance.gov, at a local government office, or at a FEMA disaster recovery center when established. For more information and helpful resources on FEMA’s disaster relief and recovery efforts, please visit FEMA.gov or call 1-800-621-3362.

NOTE: residents who applied for FEMA assistance prior to the Major Disaster Declaration by the federal government on September 2, 2017, need to re-apply for assistance or appeal the denial.

Thousands of Texas students displaced as schools assess storm damage

More than 55 public school and charter districts in Texas remained closed on Friday, officials said, and tens of thousands of the state's students must be relocated to unfamiliar schools this year after Hurricane Harvey damaged their homes or classrooms.

In some districts, officials still have not said when schedules can resume. An as-yet undetermined number of schools will remain too damaged to use for much of the year, adding more uncertainty to families recovering from Harvey's aftermath.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) said nearly 10 of the 55 districts that are closed will remain so until further notice. In Houston, the seventh largest U.S. school district, the first day of school was set for Monday, though many schools will remain shut due to flooding damage.

http://kelo.com/news/articles/2017/sep/08/thousands-of-texas-students-displaced-as-schools-assess-storm-damage/

Houston Electrical Industry Begins Long Process of Recovery from Hurricane Harvey

The electrical industry in Houston is still reeling from the impact of the record-breaking floods brought by Hurricane Harvey two weeks ago. Since that time every resource has been devoted to making sure associates, customers and neighbors were out of harm’s way and beginning the process of assessing damage and starting the restoration.

“The recovery is clearly just beginning, and it’s going to be a really, really long recovery,” said Jeff Metzler, CEO of Lonestar Electric Supply. “At first it was all about getting people safe, and now it’s getting them relief and getting them back in business. We have truckloads and truckloads of stuff coming in.”

Some major thoroughfares on the east side of the Houston metropolitan area are still under many feet of water at press time, but Houston-area electrical manufacturers, reps, distributors and their customers are now fully engaged in getting needed products into the hands of customers. The road to recovery is expected to be a very long slog.

http://www.ecmweb.com/product-sourcing-supply/houston-electrical-industry-begins-long-process-recovery-hurricane-harvey

Parts of Texas still in rescue, recovery mode after Harvey

As Hurricane Irma heads toward Florida, the Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey hope they won't be forgotten.

Exactly two weeks after Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, most of downtown Houston is dry and life is starting to return to normal. But the damage there and in surrounding cities is still being assessed.

Harvey came ashore August 25 as a Category 4 hurricane with high winds and a destructive storm surge. After it moved slightly inland, it swirled in place over southeast Texas for a few days, dropping record-shattering rain and flooding several areas.

The storm and subsequent flooding left more than 70 people dead and ravaged nearly 300 miles of the Texas coast and parts of Louisiana, flooding homes and displacing more than a million people. More than 21,000 people remain in shelters Friday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety's situation report.

http://www.localdvm.com/news/national/parts-of-texas-still-in-rescue-recovery-mode-after-harvey/807022286

Rebuilding Port Arthur

The rebuilding is beginning, as people return to the cities and towns along the Gulf Coast, hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey two weeks ago. Nowhere is the destruction more severe than in Port Arthur, Texas. Not a single home was spared the ravages of the flood that engulfed this small city.

"At this point the material stuff really doesn't mean a lot," survivor Debra Scott tells us. "We've got our life and can rebuild and we can replace material stuff."

60,000 people lived here before Hurricane Harvey hit. Public officials estimates fewer than 30,000 people are here today. Those who stayed or who have returned are cleaning up the mess left behind by the wettest hurricane ever to make landfall in the U.S. Driving or walking through the neighborhoods of Port Arthur, The flood water rose to five feet in some areas of the city, damaging homes and destroying everything inside. Remnants of that destruction are on display now, piled five to ten feet high, on the curb in front of each hollowed-out house.

https://www.ktbs.com/weather/tropical-weather-watch/rebuilding-port-arthur/article_bdc129d0-9305-11e7-922b-57986cbb97bf.html

FEMA comes to Port Arthur; Dozens wait in line for help

Seven-year-old triplets Shelly, Juan and Ashley didn’t seem to mind standing in line at the Federal Emergency Management Agency bus Thursday in the 1900 block of Ninth Avenue in Port Arthur. Anyplace can be a place to play if you’ve got your two best friends with you.

But standing in line was not child’s play for their mother, Gricelda, who was waiting patiently with about 25 people ahead of her. With the help of a friend to interpret her words, the young mother said her family lost everything in the flood and she hopes FEMA will help with repairs of her house.

http://www.panews.com/2017/09/07/fema-comes-to-port-arthur-dozens-wait-in-line-for-help/

FEMA assistance station is located in Port Arthur

FEMA representatives are located at 1900 9th Ave (near Pioneer Park and St. Mary's), 9am-6pm daily. The Disaster Survivor Assistance trailer is parked, and ready to start helping residents initiate their claims or follow up on any questions you may have regarding the process.

Their are also FEMA representatives on the ground in neighborhoods helping as well.

Have the following when working with FEMA:
-Your address + zip code
-Directions to your property
-Condition of your damaged home
-Insurance information, if available
-Social Security Number
-Phone number where you can be contacted
-Address where you can receive mail

To call and register 1-800-621-3362
Web registration at www.disasterassistance.gov

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/weather/article/FEMA-assistance-station-is-located-in-Port-Arthur-12181270.php

Nursing home company issues statement on Port Arthur evacuation

On August 30, as employees of our Lake Arthur Place skilled nursing facility worked with authorities to ensure a timely, safe and organized evacuation of our residents amidst the chaos of Hurricane Harvey, residents of that facility were forcibly evacuated by unknown volunteers.

Since that moment, we have continued to work tirelessly to locate and confirm the safety of the evacuated patients and residents. This has always been and will always be our highest priority.

http://kfdm.com/news/local/nursing-home-company-issues-statement-on-port-arthur-evacuation

Beaumont ISD: Not opening on Monday

Beaumont ISD will not "reopen on Monday," but the district could make an announcement about when school will resume later today, said Superintendent John Frossard.

Frossard said the district needs to learn more from the city about the water situation before announcing a start date. 

The City of Beaumont remains under a boil water advisory. That interferes with "kitchen operations and with kids washing their hands," Frossard said. 

He said the district is able to reopen without water, if FEMA is able to provide meals and with health department approval. They'd provide hand sanitizer or wipes for students, he said.

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Beaumont-ISD-Not-opening-on-Monday-12183250.php

Many rescuers working non-stop in disaster were also victims

On Thursday, Joshua Taylor had his first day off since signing into his shift for the Port Arthur Fire Department back on Aug. 24.

Unfortunately, while Taylor was rescuing flood victims, his own neighborhood was being swamped. Now his street is littered with sheetrock from flood-damaged homes.

Taylor said his house received 6 to 10 inches of floodwater - not as bad as some of his compatriots on the Bridge City Volunteer Fire Department, where he volunteers, but bad enough that he has to replace about two feet of sheetrock and insulation throughout his house.

The International Association of Fire Fighters has been checking on first-responders' homes while they have been involved in rescue operations and is helping during recovery.

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Many-rescuers-working-non-stop-in-disaster-were-12182692.php