As soon as the floodwaters receded in East Houston, the Hernandez family got to work.
“We’re just right here trying to clean out the backyard and get any trash and get the water flowing out of the yard so we can at least be dry back here. And then we’ll worry about the inside I suppose,” said Geri-Ann Hernandez.
Inside her home, there’s evidence of the scramble to get things above the rising water. One prize that made it with little damage: her daughter’s quinceañera dress – all bright pink tulle and gold sequins
“She waited forever for that quinceañera,” Hernandez said. “This is something that she loves and it means a lot to her – so I had to get it out here to dry so it wouldn’t get moldy on her.”
The waters inside were nearly waist deep, which means most of the Hernandez’s furniture is saturated with stinking floodwater. The carpet will have to go, and the drywall is waterlogged.
Hernandez applied for FEMA assistance right away, but now she feels stuck.
“We really don’t know right now what to do as far as our belongings or as far as cleaning up our home,” she said. “We don’t know if we should leave our stuff here the way it is and let them see it, or if we should try to just clean it out and help the process run more smoother, I guess, and get as far along in our steps as we can.”