Grey humid weather brings some anxiety to the residents of Martindale in Central Texas. Many of them are still recovering from last year’s Memorial Day floods.
Ana Davila checks in on many of them regularly. She is a disaster case manager with the United Methodist Committee on Relief. She tries to assist families and residents in getting their homes repaired and their belongings fixed, replaced or cleaned up. For the Hamilton family, for instance, she’s still trying to find money to repair their leaking roof and remove the mold spreading in their home.
It’s been a year since floods devastated parts of Central Texas. The cities affected have made progress, but it’s a long process. While much of the media attention has been on recovery efforts in places like San Marcos and Wimberley, there are more towns in Central Texas, like tiny Martindale, where families are still struggling to rebuild.
In her black cat-eye glasses with rhinestones in the corners and her coral lipstick, Davila stops by Paula Reyes’ house.
She has known Reyes practically forever. Reyes, now 90, used to babysit her when she was a kid. This is a close-knit community – only about 1,000 people live here. Most are Latinos.
The siding on Reyes’ home is peeling away. She said the people who were fixing it left, probably to help others.
Since last year’s Memorial Day floods, four more natural disasters have been declared in Texas. Humanitarian groups have been stretched thin; volunteers can be hard to come by.
Another group will arrive to help Reyes. But, they’re not coming until the end of June, Davila said.
Reyes’ father built this house. The flood washed out part of the foundation and warped the floors. It left Reyes without furniture, running water or electricity.
“She didn’t know about FEMA. She didn’t know what FEMA was until I told her,” Davila said.
So she drove Reyes to the office and helped her apply for disaster relief.