Jam-packed crowd demands answers at Travis Co. flood meeting

Standing room only at Travis County flood meeting in Del Valle
Standing room only at Travis County flood meeting in Del Valle

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A meeting for flood victims, held at the Travis County Community Center in Del Valle, brought out 100 people forced to cram together along the walls with not enough room to sit, straining to hear what was being said.

Standing room only at Travis County flood meeting in Del Valle
Standing room only at Travis County flood meeting in Del Valle

The setup reflected what victims have told KXAN they’ve felt in the weeks following the Oct. 30 flood. There wasn’t enough preparation. There was no organization. And their voices aren’t being heard. Travis County officials said the meeting was about answering questions, not giving speeches.

Precinct Four Commissioner Margaret Gomez told the crowd, “Today is our turn to listen to you.”

Those impacted were eager to take that opportunity, in a meeting filled with anger, tears, and desperation.

For some, an emergency alert was delayed. As KXAN reported, others never received an alert at all. Several wanted to look back; demanding answers to what went wrong.

“It took 4 hours to get out and help them.”

Family members of Edward Hernandez, one of three people who died in the October flood, stood among crowd, bursting from the seams of the room. They needed help then, and like many, feel they still don’t have it now.

“I have called every single number, I have gone to every single one of these meetings and no one, NO ONE will help me. That’s frustrating.”

Those from the Thoroughbred Farms neighborhood say the massive flooding was unprecedented, and called for an investigation.

“Something happened out here we have never seen before,” Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt agreed. “We are going to do an engineering study to find out WHY THIS HAPPENED.”

She said if manmade factors caused the flood, victims have the right to hold someone accountable.

Some victims are disillusioned by the runaround and said they are leery to trust a study conducted by the very county they feel abandoned them. Others, simply wanted to focus on the here and now.

One gentleman called out, “We know what happened, we know how it happened, what can be done about it now?”

Information on various resources was provided at the meeting, where it was also announced that local lawyers are making themselves available to flood victims simply by calling 1-800-504-7030 or emailing texaslawhelp.org.

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