After years of drought conditions, Texas finds itself with a new and opposite problem: how to recover from the past few weeks of massive flooding? Unfortunately, a lack of disaster recovery planning is making that a tough problem to solve.
37 counties in Texas have been declared disaster areas, but unlike states that have dealt with flooding in the past such as Florida and North Carolina, Texas has no centralized flood program. In fact, a disaster recovery proposal that would have taken months off the rebuilding process only passed in the state Senate two days after flooding began in Houston.
Meanwhile, only 12 of the state’s 27 Army Corps of engineers flood reduction projects received federal funding because local sponsors couldn’t reach funding requirements.
Without a plan in place, the state has to rely on the federally subsidized National Flood Insurance Program, which is itself dealing with allegations of criminal activities among its private insurance contractors. How bad is it? The NFIP owes the federal government $23 billion, and has been on the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s “high risk” list since 2006.