“It’s destroying me”: Storm after storm, climate change increases strain on Texans’ mental health

Houses are seen submerged in flood waters from Hurricane Harvey in Northwest Houston on Aug, 30, 2017. Climate change likely increased Hurricane Harvey’s total rainfall by as much as 19%, researchers found.

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REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Dana Jones stands in front of her mother’s cabinet, one of her only items that survived the floods. After Hurricane Harvey brought waist-deep water into her home, Jones lived out of her truck for a month before finding somewhere to live.

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Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

Dana Jones lets her dogs, Gigi and Zion, inside her home.

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Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

First: Dana Jones’ house in Houston, seen on Aug. 2, 2022, has weathered multiple floods. Last: Jones tears up as she recounts her experience with flooding. She has not been approved for a government-funded rebuild or repair.

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Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

Climate change “catastrophic” to mental health

Maria Monjaras and her family lived in a hotel room for almost five months after Hurricane Harvey flooded their home. The family continues to deal with the emotional trauma, especially during storms. “You don’t sleep,” Monjaras said. “Or if you sleep, you wake up and check again to see how high the water is.”

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Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

First: Maria Monjaras’ air conditioner is raised to avoid flooding. Her home will soon be rebuilt with funds from the General Land Office after ot approved her application this summer. Last: Monjaras shows how high flood waters were during Hurricane Harvey when her family evacuated their home in Houston.

Credit:
Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

Storm survivors feel forgotten

A newly rebuilt home in the Melrose Park neighborhood has been elevated several feet high to protect it from flooding. Jones and others said every home on their street was flooded by rainfall from Hurricane Harvey.

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Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

Judy Hoya has lived in Melrose Park for almost 50 years. If the neighborhood floods again, Hoya said she plans to leave.

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Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

Lack of mental health resources “another form of neglect”

Liz Shuler demonstrates emergency medical procedures on a dummy named Eleanor during a Community Emergency Response Training course at Felix Cook, Jr. Elementary School in Houston on Aug. 1, 2022. The four-week course, which teaches participants about disaster preparedness, can help people regain a sense of control and reduce the impact of climate-related trauma and anxiety.

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Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

First: Kyle Maronie practices checking Rain Eatmon’s pulse during the Community Emergency Response Training. Last: Alejandra Manzanares, left, practices how to wrap gauze on her mother, another participant.

Credit:
Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

Huey German-Wilson, a co-founder of the Northeast Houston Redevelopment Council, attends an online meeting about community-driven disaster planning on Aug. 2, 2022.

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Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

“Something I can do for myself”

Dana Jones stands outside the door to her home in Houston. “I’ve kept myself together,” she said, but, “I have to put this behind me.”

Credit:
Kylie Cooper/The Texas Tribune

 

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