Abbott visits RGV after Hurricane Hanna

Governor announces COVID-19 and post-Hanna initiatives as protestors outside demand more resources

By Gaige Davila

Texas Governor Greg Abbott visited the Rio Grande Valley on July 28, surveying damage from Hurricane Hanna after visiting Corpus Christi and surveying damage there. Outside, protestors from Hidalgo County asked for Abbott to do something about recurring flooding in their homes.

Weslaco, Texas, residents protest outside the Texas Department of Safety’s Regional Headquarters in Weslaco before Governor Greg Abbott’s scheduled press conference on July 28. Photo by Gaige Davila.

“Where we live, we get flooded every year, and it’s been the same problem for over 20 years,” Nathali Tovar, who was protesting outside the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Regional Headquarters in Weslaco, where Abbott was holding a press conference.

She lives by Mile 14 and Mile 6 West in Weslaco. After approaching the City of Weslaco about recurring flooding in their home, they told them they lived outside the city limits of Weslaco, Tovar said. She contacted Hidalgo County for assistance, including Hidalgo County Commissioner David Fuentes, but has not received a response, Tovar said.

The morning after Hurricane Hanna, Tovar said water began to rise and drain back into their home. The water reached waist level, Tovar said, and got into her home. The same kind of flooding happened last year, in June, Tovar said, during a particularly heavy rainstorm that affected several areas in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Tovar and her family are staying elsewhere, unable to return to their home. 

Protesters outside of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Regional Headquarters in Weslaco. Photo by Gaige Davila.

“They know where the problem is, I don’t see why they can’t send pipes to pump out the water,” tovar said. “We always wait three or four days, even five.” 

Weslaco and several areas in Hidalgo County experienced major flooding from Hurricane Hanna. 

During the press conference, Abbott mentioned that he and other Rio Grande Valley political leaders discussed removing water from the area, but that they were “still looking for the right solutions,” he said. 

“It is something we understand that we need to move toward quickly,” Abbott said, mentioning water removal projects in Houston post-Hurricane Harvey were still ongoing and similar projects in the Valley would likely take years to be completed. 

But for the protesters outside, the time frame is too long. 

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