Economist: Houston has the capacity to recover after Hurricane Harvey

The Woodforest neighborhood, which is located in Montgomery County Precinct 2, sustained major flooding in late August. Magnolia is also located in Precinct 2.

The Woodforest neighborhood, which is located in Montgomery County Precinct 2, sustained major flooding in late August. Magnolia is also located in Precinct 2.

Despite displacing thousands of residents, experts remain optimistic of Houston’s ability to bounce back from the damages left by Hurricane Harvey.

Citing the size of Houston, as well as its diverse and robust economy, Cullum Clark, director of economics at Southern Methodist University, said he expects Houston’s people and industry to rebound soon.

“I’m extremely optimistic—based on Katrina and other past experience—that the economy will be functioning reasonably well there in that the people will be back at work,” Clark said. “Industry will be rolling forward in a rather short period of time.”

Though not to downplay the devastating effect Harvey had on people’s homes, Clark said he also expects Houston’s oil industry to be functioning soon.

“Regional economies in the United States rebuild—really if anything—surprisingly quickly from these types of natural disasters,” Clark said.

But as residents begin recovering what they can in the wake of the storm, those without flood insurance policies may have to rely on federal aid, Clark said. Houston officials will be faced with the task to determine the distribution of that aid, he said.

City of Houston and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said rescue and recovery efforts remain their top priority.

“FEMA is already providing assistance to survivors that incurred uninsured losses,” agency spokesperson David Gervino told Community Impact Newspaper in an email. “It is difficult to estimate the total amount of assistance that will be provided, since many areas are still flooded and an accurate damage assessment cannot be conducted until they recede.”

FEMA reported on its website that it has provided aid to more than 68,000 individuals for a total of approximately $37 million.


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