The following sample essay on “Floods in Texas”: is a story about natural disasters in Texas and why they occur.
June 1st is the official start of hurricane season. Tropical Storm Amanda is approaching and moving north onto Texas. It developed near Campeche in southern areas of the Gulf of Mexico in the first week of June and will make its way North. The last major tropical storm that hit Texas was Hurricane Harvey in 2017. “The storm killed nearly 70 people, damaged more than 300,000 structures, and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage.
” (CBSDFW, 2020) Now, due to COVID-19, quarantine has been able to help our environment become cleaner, but it may be doing so much more than just lowering pollution levels; it affects the weather. (Piper, 2020) To prepare for the upcoming unexpected weather Texas must speed up the process of fixing infrastructures to prevent major flooding from happening and should establish secure and safe environments for people who are affected by storms but in addition should not be at risk to be infected by the virus.
State legislators are the people who vote on how they are to spend the money used for roads. In Texas specifically, roads and bridges are funded by gas tax receipts, tolls, state sales tax, auto registration fees, etc. (Rove, 2020) It is the Texas legislature’s job to adhere to what the citizens of Texas demand to make transportation and travel safe, as well as make all infrastructure above sea level to prevent damage of flooding.
No hurricane is as strong as Hurricane Harvey had ever hit Texas since 1961.
Texas was not prepared for the category 4 hurricane in 2017 and did major infrastructure damage in the city of Houston due to all the flooding. Furthermore, Texas never required people to disclose information about flood risks, but now a bill has been passed, however, it does not guarantee that sellers will tell the truth when selling a house and not mention any information about flood risks in the area. (Lara Korte, 2019)
Texas had never experienced heavy flooding for hundreds of years and never had a plan where everyone would communicate well from county hospitals to firefighters to law enforcement. Hurricane Katrina was the second-worst storm that costs nearly as much damage as Harvey in 2005, and it did not do much to stop and prepare caution for further similar weather. The Duggans, an elderly couple, lived in the Houston area and owned their own house for almost 20 years and claimed it had never flooded. However, until those days when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, the wife said they were going to flood, so they packed up and were rescued just as rising floodwaters approached their front steps. In the article, they mentioned that had they known that their house was a designated flood area, they would never have bought the house. (Lara Korte, 2019) In the same way, the Martinez family purchased a house in a suburban outside of Houston in 2011. Ms. Martinez had talked to the home builder to discuss flood risks, however they assured her that flooding was not even a possibility. She felt furious and betrayed the article says because they had to go through that experience during hurricane Harvey and if told otherwise, she would have never bought that home. (John Schwartz, 2017)
Both in Florida and in Texas, have the same pressures when it comes to unexpected whether and as previous to the law implemented after Harvey, homeowners had no idea about flood history from their home since such information was not required to inform. (Harris, 2019) In comparison, Florida still does not require for home owners to say any information about whether the house that is being sold has flood risk or if it has ever been flooded before. (Harris, 2019)
For the most part, an article states how black communities in particular have been the ones who are affected the most due the area that they live in. From data analyzed from Houston, most of the open-ditch drainage systems are in minority communities. Blacks have faced many challenges when having to purchase a home. The history of a black land owner is not the greatest since whites always get first pick on where they want to live and surely after, the remained last was for them and was in flood-prone areas. In addition, Latinos have also face difficulties when trying to rebuild or fix infrastructure to be prepared for unexpected weather. Most Latinos live in apartments with mold and most of the time landlords never report the issues or seem to fix them. Furthermore, article says that “there has been a smaller percentage of Latino communities actually applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance” because even though they assure immigration status does not matter, there is still serious fear. (Collins, 2017) An article state that “in Houston, the researchers found that “the poorest residents are most likely to live on the lowest-lying land, and so are most subjected to higher flood exposure.”” (Frank, 2020)
Today, people in Houston are worried as to what if they were to flood again during this pandemic. White-Olsen, programs director for Bayou City Initiative, an organization aimed at educating the community on Houston flood issues, stated her opinion saying, “the first responders will need to be in protective gear, in my opinion, for people to be assured that they will be safe.” In 2017 she and her family were evacuated in addition to their neighbors and nearby people that needed to reach a safe destination, but now she says she would feel uncomfortable because of the fear of being infected by the virus. (Schneider, 2020)
An article says that in the Democratic debate in Houston found that 63 percent of voters worried about climate change and nearly two-thirds supported the government doing something to take responsibility and fix it. (Trevizo, 2019) For most flood damages, people are required to reach their insurance providers in order to help them restore and rebuild all the damage cost caused by the flood. In addition, for the most part, the governor is the one who issues how and what will be done in the response and relief efforts. The federal government may sometimes intervene and offer some aid to Texas in order for recovery from a natural disaster. Executive the president may sometimes issue policies in order to improve preparedness and resilience against flooding. Legislative branch proposes laws for example the law the Texas proposed of better funding for infrastructure in Texas in order to be prepared for next time due to Hurricane Harvey. Judicial interprets the law and oversees laws that were proposed and passed in the legislative branch.
One way to be able to avoid and be prepared of floods is being aware of our surroundings and make sure if needed to have an evacuation plan, and flood insurance for those who are in high risks of flood areas. Texas should require for everyone to be informed of where they are located not only home buys, but renters as well, and if in high risk of floods especially during hurricane season, should be known of the different opportunities available in order to rebuild after, and shelters they are provided with during the crisis. This will allow for people like minorities to be aware in what area they are renting and lessen the probabilities of their personal values, and families to be at risk. In addition, because of COVID-19, everyone is frightened of the possibility of getting sick if in contact with a large crowd. In previous instances like Hurricane Harvey, school gyms and other large areas were fully crowded with victims of their properties being destroyed due to the flood. Texas should propose some type of plan to let their representatives sort a plan to keep its citizens safe not just from the natural disaster but now enforce more safety due to the virus. For example, hotels should open up to the possibility of residents of the town and their families to reside there while the flood lessens, or having a minimal amount of people in the gyms as per thousands of people like in Harvey.
It is very unfortunate that people have to live with losing everything that they have worked for because of an event that is completely unavoidable. It is you Representative Lucio that needs to implement plans and requirements in order for us your district to be aware, safe and take precautions of future natural disasters. Our city is built under sea level and it is your duty to be able to provide precautions and warnings during this hurricane season. If you are unable to fulfill your duty as representative at the state level and be our voice, in the upcoming election we will choose someone else to do this for us. Propose laws that will protect citizens from natural disasters and the virus, that’s all we ask for.
Citizens from all over Texas especially those in Houston have fought to enforce more protection toward preparations of future floods. Article says that “the number of properties insured against floods in Houston alone increased by 18 percent from July 2017 to the end of May. (Juan A. Lozano, 2018) It is the job of us citizens to protect our homes especially during hurricane season to rebuild soon after the flooding is clear. Texas passed a proposition that creates a constitutional amendment to create a flood infrastructure fund, which would provide financing for flood drainage, mitigation, and control projects. (Staff, 2019)The fund will help in order to be more prepared, however, I am hoping that they use these funds properly, and to not only fix those infrastructures from the wealthy and white, but those who actually need it in minority, low-income neighborhoods as well. Citizens can call in order to get drainages fix and to fix any infrastructure that seems to be hazardous or that can be affected in the future. Many can also start asking about flood insurance and what it their requirement and the payments in order to prevent losing anything if unexpected weather were to bring about a flood. Representatives are there to assist us in anything we need to take advantage.