Houston: One Month Later

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HOUSTON — It’s been four weeks since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Houston area as a category four storm.  

It quickly became the largest flooding event in North American history and recovery has been slow.  
 
“These are our kitchen cabinets.”

Michelle Frankfort has a Texas-sized problem sitting on her front lawn.

“It’s not acceptable we are trying to move forward as a city and this to meet causes a health hazard,” Frankfort, a flood victim, said.

One month after Harvey hit and three weeks after she cleared out her home, she’s still looking at mountains of molding memories, complete with horseflies and a constant smell of mildew.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is helping lead recovery efforts in southeast Texas.

“Even if 90 percent is picked up at some point and you’re still in the 10 percent, you’re not happy and I understand that,” Emmett said.

Household debris ends up in larger piles like this one.

Houston officials say trucks have only removed about five percent of Harvey’s wreckage.

In southeast Texas, close to 800,000 people have applied for FEMA assistance.

The agency has already paid out more than $570 million to individuals for temporary housing, cars and cash for immediate needs.

The Insurance Council of Texas estimates there are about a quarter million flooded cars and trucks.

Insurance companies have already taken care of a  billion dollars worth of claims and that number is expected to triple.

On top of that, at least 2,000 people remain in shelters and many schools have not yet started.

Local officials say they’re looking at revamping old floodplain maps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“We have to make sure people no longer build in areas that can’t be protected from flooding,” Emmett said.
 
That could take six months.

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