President signs federal disaster declaration for Liberty County residents impacted by Imelda

Pct. 4 crews and Dayton firefighters work to remove a vehicle stuck in a ditch along CR 604 in Dayton during Tropical Storm Imelda. The vehicle was threatening the flow of water through storm drains. (Photo courtesy of Pct. 4 Commissioner Leon Wilson)

Federal help is on the way for Liberty County residents impacted by Tropical Storm Imelda.

Late Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump signed the federal disaster declaration that will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to open up disaster recovery centers in the six Texas counties impacted by the storm.

“This declaration is for individual assistance, which means it will be helping individuals impacted by the disaster with up to $35,000 in assistance through FEMA,” said Liberty County Judge Jay Knight. “Our next big step is to see if we receive this same disaster declaration from the President for public assistance, which is for cities and counties to help with repairs to the infrastructure. The public assistance will greatly enhance the recovery efforts.”

According to Crista Beasley-Adams, director of the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management, roughly 700 people called her office to report damage from the storm. She couldn’t provide a total dollar amount for the damages, but it met the threshold for county residents to receive some federal aid.

The next step is setting up disaster recovery centers where people can apply for assistance. Following the normal protocol of disaster relief in Liberty County, Beasley-Adams said she and Judge Knight are looking to set up disaster recovery centers in Liberty and Cleveland.

“We want to have one for each end of the county,” she said.

While the assistance caps out at $35,000 for individuals, Beasley-Adams said that doesn’t mean residents will receive the maximum amount.

“They must file a claim and then FEMA will come out and make damage assessments,” she said.

Individuals wishing to apply by phone or online can call 1-800-621-3362 or

U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36), who represents Liberty County, has been working to get the federal disaster declaration signed by the President. Babin is happy that assistance is on its way.

“I applaud President Trump for swiftly signing the Federal Disaster Declaration request sent by Governor Abbott earlier this week, so those impacted by the severe flooding brought by Imelda are now able to receive individual assistance,” Babin said. “As many once again travel down the road to recovery, they will now have access to the resources necessary to make this journey as quickly as possible.”

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