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For Central Texans, Real Recovery Has Just Begun

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It’s been more than a week since the Blanco and San Marcos Rivers flooded. There are now 11 people confirmed dead in Hays and Blanco Counties, along with hundreds of homes damaged. The response has been centered in San Marcos and Wimberley, two of the areas hit hardest. Officials in San Marcos say they’ve had volunteers donate more than 17-thousand hours of work. More than a thousand volunteers showed up in Wimberley this past weekend.

The streets of Wimberley are dotted with dismantled homes.

Raymond Cheung is the Spokesperson for Team Rubicon, a disaster relief non-profit. His group’s working out of a junior high in Wimberley along with several other relief agencies.

"[There's] damaged furniture, drywall, carpet, insulation, vegetation that may have been left in their property and moving it out into mounds on the curb for the city to pick up," Cheung says.

He adds that even though the floodwater has subsided and FEMA agents are in town, the hardest part of recovery starts now: rebuilding. Residents have to file insurance claims, apply for FEMA aid and start reconstructing damaged homes. Plus, now’s usually the time when volunteer numbers start to decline

“People don’t see it on the news, so out of sight, out of mind. They may forget that there are still folks who need help out here," Cheung says. "So, we’re here for the long haul.” 

The long haul could mean months of recovery. But he says the goal is to get people back into their homes as soon as possible – to avoid having folks move away for good. One study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found nearly 30 percent of Hurricane Katrina victims never returned home. Researchers found that the more damage a person’s home sustained, the less likely people were to come back.