Texans damaged by winter storm asked to complete online survey to speed up possible federal assistance

Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott answer questions about the winter storm during a recent press conference. (Photo courtesy of the Texas Division of Emergency Management)

The State of Texas has streamlined the process for self-reporting damage from the winter storm that impacted the area this week. To simplify the process and to determine how assistance should be distributed, the State has set up an online survey where people are asked if the damage was to their home or business, where the property is located, if they are able to live in or use the structure, the type of damage caused by the disaster and if the property is covered by insurance.

For this storm, the damages may be flooding due to frozen or broken water pipes, cracks or damages to the building foundation, wind and roof damage, no running water or HVAC system failure, just to name a few. Persons who fill out the survey will be asked to include a photo of the damages, which may be taken with a cell phone.

“By doing the survey, they are allowing the State to compile data for us on a local level. They will use that data to show to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) that we need help,” said Crista Beasley-Adams, coordinator of the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management.

To access the survey, go online to https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/eb1ab4928205490182896d86783447d3 or follow this link from this QR code:

In flooding events, which are the typical disaster for Liberty County and often associated with hurricanes, damage is easier to assess days later with water lines visible on structures.

“This event is different. We can’t go and see a water line on a home or see the roof blown off,” said Beasley-Adams, adding that most people have already begun making repairs to their homes out of necessity.

By filling out the survey, people with storm damage can help Liberty County reach the threshold for Individual Assistance through FEMA. In order for Liberty County to be eligible for assistance, damages must be $294,625 or greater.

At this time, Texas has not been declared federally for Individual Assistance and has only been approved for Emergency Protective Measures through FEMA, she said.

“I can assure that the county judge and the state of LCOEM are working diligently to get help and resources to our jurisdiction. TDEM is working as quickly as they can to fill the requests coming in to them. Please remember this is a statewide event and not just a handful of counties involved, like other disasters we have seen in the past,” Beasley-Adams said. “If we are declared on the federal level and assistance becomes available, we will push the information through all media outlets and through our social media page, and can be found on our county website.”

She stressed that everyone should practice kindness toward each other as the recovery efforts move forward.

“Last but not least, let’s be kind, help your neighbors if you are able and have some compassion. We will get through this event like we have gotten through all other disasters we have encountered,” she said.

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