Massive damages face Tx flood recovery

BY DOUGLAS CANNON | SAN ANTONIO | October 27, 1998


Torrential rains Oct. 17-19 from San

Antonio to Austin unleashed record flooding in areas adjacent to creeks and

rivers across south central Texas. With the muddy water came several deaths

and widespread property damage.

San Antonio officially received nearly 17 inches of rain during the

first 24 hours. More than 20 inches drenched New Braunfels, 35 miles

northeast of San Antonio.

Rising water caused an estimated $500 million in property damage over a

25-county area and killed at least 29 people.

Two of the hardest-hit communities were Cuero, a city of 6,700 southeast

of San Antonio, and Seguin, a city of about 19,000 directly east of San

Antonio.

Damage surveys in Cuero showed 643 homes -- 26 percent of the city's housing units - destroyed, said Carroll Buchhorn, a member of First United Method

ist Church in Cuero and the DeWitt County disaster-response committee. More

than 43 percent of the remaining houses were damaged.

"The loss in Cuero is $60 million," he said. "We think that's the

highest per-capita destruction in this flood."

In Seguin, the Red Cross reported 253 homes destroyed and another 1,000

damaged. Many of those houses were valued at more than $100,000.

In New Braunfels, at least 24 families from First United Methodist

Church there had four feet of water or more from the Guadalupe in their

homes, said the Rev. Fred Martin, senior minister. Several had only

concrete slabs where their homes had stood.

The Red Cross reported 115 homes destroyed and 665 damaged in New Braunfels.

The Rev. David Kinman of Astoria, Ore., a disaster-response specialist,

from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been sent to

Texas to assist in the flood response efforts.

A first shipment of 400 UMCOR "flood buckets" containing cleaning

supplies arrived in Gonzales within a few days of the flood, and were

disbursed there and in Sequin and Cuero. More buckets are expected to be

delivered.


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