From an editorial Friday in Newsday:
Floodwaters finally are receding in and near Houston, and some semblance of normalcy is returning to some parts of Texas battered by Hurricane Harvey – even as the monster storm moves on to Louisiana and other states.
Now Texas is learning what New Yorkers discovered nearly five years ago after superstorm Sandy ripped through the region: The storm is gone, but there is no end to the heartache and headaches.
The death toll in Texas has topped 30, and with some people still missing that count is expected to rise. Tens of thousands of structures have been damaged or destroyed, many of them uninsured, and there seems to be no end to the homeless population. Residents will be plagued by mold and mildew, and by mosquitoes carrying diseases.
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Then there is the water that remains – a fetid stew laced with waste, debris and toxic chemicals, spawning fears of infectious diseases like cholera. The city’s gigantic petroleum complex released more than 2 million pounds of hazardous substances into the air. Private wells used by hundreds of thousands of Texans also are at risk for contamination.
Congress must make sure disaster aid is readily available, as it was to the New York region. The Federal Emergency Management Agency must operate more effectively than it did after Sandy, when it took too long to get recovery money to too many people, and when fraudulently altered engineering reports led to lower payments or denials of claims.
No one should think this process will go quickly, least of all President Donald Trump. It’s up to each of us here to offer some measure of support, like that which was extended to us in our darkest hours.