After four days, the Texas Gulf Coast still faces a significant threat from the effects of Tropical Storm Harvey. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is actively assisting state and local agencies as well as our partners within the Federal government as all seek to alleviate the impact of the storm.
“CBP personnel are working hard to help local communities in any way possible, from search-and-rescue operations to clearing debris,” CBP Lead Field Coordinator Judson W. Murdock II. “During times of natural disasters, CBP employees selflessly go above and beyond the call of duty, which is a testament to their dedication to the safety and well-being of those in their communities and ultimately the nation as a whole.”
According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Harvey is expected produce total rain accumulations of 15 to 30 inches and isolated maximum amounts of 40 inches over the middle and upper Texas coast through Wednesday, which will cause catastrophic flooding. Fortunately, CBP has plans and preparations in place to join the local, state and federal efforts to protect life and property, respond to employee needs, and implement business resumption activities as soon as practical.
Many areas remain without electricity and a number of CBP employees have been displaced by the storm, many have sustained property damage, while others are unable to report to or leave work due to heavy flooding; however, the good news is —all CBP personnel in the affected areas have been accounted for and are safe at this time. As always when a disaster strikes, CBP personnel and their families are a priority. In areas hit hardest by the storm, CBP employees are assisting their fellow employees with flooded and wind damaged homes, submerged vehicles, power loss and with any other storm-related needs. CBP personnel have also been performing welfare checks on employees and community residents as well as clearing debris.
The CBP Lead Field Coordinator command center located in Houston remains open 24/7 and is monitoring the emerging situation and coordinating CBP’s response.
In Rockport, Texas, U.S. Border Patrol agents rescued a disaster survivor who was trapped on the second floor of an extremely damaged home and traveled throughout the community assisting disaster survivors identified by the U.S. Coast Guard emergency operations center. Fifty U.S. Border Patrol agents have been working in USCG Corpus Christi Sector emergency operations center located in Robstown, Texas.
“The steps CBP took to prepare for Hurricane Harvey before it arrived, helped us mitigate, as much as possible, the impact to our border security operations, our employees’ well-being and the safety of the communities we serve,” Murdock said. “As Harvey continues to wreak havoc across the region, that preparation is allowing us to effectively assist in the areas hardest hit, and once the storm passes our plans will allow us to seamlessly transition into our recovery efforts.”