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FEMA rep on Harvey recovery in Southeast Texas: 'This is a marathon, not a sprint'

KBTV

With so many Southeast Texans confused about the role FEMA plays in the disaster recovery after Harvey devastated much of the region, The Morning Show went looking for answers Friday.

FEMA representative Ken Higginbotham joined Dan Gresham in the morning.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint," Higgonbotham said, asking for people's patience. "I know (patience) is a very tough word, particularly under these conditions. The state of Texas has been hit with a huge, huge natural disaster with Harvey.

More than 750,000 Texans have registered with FEMA since Harvey dumped more than 4 feet of rain in some areas, causing major damage in every Southeast Texas town, from Port Arthur to Jasper.

Higgonbotham says resources, unfortunately, are stretched "extremely thin."

FEMA has about 5,000 employees concentrated on recovery efforts in Texas and about 2,500 inspectors contracted by the agency, Higgonbotham said.

National resources were pulled in the weeks after Harvey, with Hurricane Irma ripping through Florida and most recently, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

"We're trying everything we can to get everything pulled together as quickly as we can," Higginbotham said. "Under these circumstances, there's a lot of frustration, a lot of angst. And when people lose things, it puts a lot of pressure on them. But we really encourage people to register."

The registration deadline is Oct. 24, the standard 60-day deadline after the president signs the disaster declaration.

Click the video to watch the more from the interview.

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