New Emergency Mobile Unit Ready to Deploy

5 years 2 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, September 13 2017 Sep 13, 2017 September 13, 2017 10:54 PM September 13, 2017 in News

GRANJENO – A new disaster ready unit is in the Rio Grande Valley. The Hidalgo County Community Service Agency helps families with utility assistance.

Now, the agency is on standby to help Hurricane Harvey families.

CSA officials activated their special response unit when Hurricane Harvey hit the coastal areas.

Director Jaime Longoria explained they created this due to a local storm.

In 2016, straight line winds between 85 to 105 miles per hour left the city of Granjeno in pieces.

A year after the storm, the damages can still be seen in the community.

As the city rebuilds, the winds left homeowner Jennifer Alvarez worried for the next disaster.

“Every time we hear ‘Oh my God, there’s a storm coming!’ we’re always scared of course, because of what happened,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez’s inoperable red car sits in her driveway. Her home also shifted off its cinderblocks during the storm.

“That’s back together. This time they put little hooks or something on it. That way it will be a little bit more firm and connected to the blocks. So we did a little bit extra this time to hopefully not have that happen again," Alvarez said.

The Hidalgo County Community Service Agency Operations Manager Guillermo Palacios said the agency used the storm as a learning lesson.

"In the wake of Granjeno and that disaster, we thought it would be best to create a mobile station basically a special response unit," said Palacios.

Palacios said they repaired their trailer and added items needed for disaster relief.

"What we have is two operational tents like this as well; two generators, two mobile stations fully operational to laptops mobile hotspots. If we don't have internet we can still get services," said Palacios.

Palacios says the units are on standby to help their sister agencies impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

"To respond to that and service the people and process them quickly to give them services, whether it may be setting up in hotels or any kind of service whether it may be they lost their essentials we can help with that as well," said Palacios.

Palacios adds they are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Alvarez expressed she’s grateful they’re ready.

"Especially with the people not having money or not having clothing. It’s definitely something good the communities not only here in Granjeno, but all over the Valley," said Alvarez.

Alvarez will stay ready and be prepared for is another disaster hits the Valley.

The Hidalgo County Community Service Agency Director Jaime Longoria tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS if the agency deploys the funds to send their members to a disaster zone will come from taxpayer dollars. They includes their salaries and travel expenses.

Longoria points the money will be reimbursed to help the services in the community.

"We would gather all of that information much like our sister departments do in responding to an emergency. We would gather all of that financial data and we would put it together for a request to FEMA for reimbursement," said Longoria.

Longoria said there are many factors for the total amount of deployment. He said it could cost several thousand dollars.

However, some of the equipment from the mobile unit is already paid for.

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