August 30, 2017

As Harvey rolls out of the state, the Texas Health and Human Services system is working to get the recovery started. HHS has applied for waivers from certain conditions on benefits and for extended benefits for Harvey’s victims who need help.

HHS is working with the federal government to get approval to issue disaster SNAP food benefits and emergency SNAP benefits for people in counties with a federal disaster declaration.

SNAP benefits information

  • If you lost your EBT card because of Hurricane Harvey, you can dial 2-1-1 and select Option 2 to find the closest local office that’s open. Or you can call the Lone Star Help Desk 800-777-7328 to have one mailed to you.
  • You can renew SNAP food benefits at or by dialing 2-1-1 and selecting Option 2.

Medicaid clients

  • If you forgot or your medication or lost it during the evacuation, you can get it replaced, if your pharmacist approves.
  • If you are on dialysis and need help finding a provider, call 866.407.ESRD for help.
  • Pregnant women, women and girls age 10 to 55 and men and boys 14 and older can get one bottle of mosquito repellent a month from a participating pharmacy if they are in the following programs:
    • Medicaid
    • Children's Health Insurance Program
    • CHIP-Perinatal
    • Healthy Texas Women
    • Children with Special Health Care Needs Services Program
    • Family Planning Program

Hurricane recovery safety tips

Drinking Water

  • People under boil water alerts and those with private wells that may have been contaminated by floodwater should use only bottled, boiled or treated water until water has been tested and found safe.
  • When boiling water for drinking, cooking and washing, bring it to a rolling boil for at least one minute and then let it cool. If boiling isn’t possible, water can be disinfected with regular, unscented household bleach using one-eighth teaspoon, about eight drops, per gallon of water. Add the bleach, stir well and let stand for 30 minutes.


  • Do not eat food that has been in contact with flood water.
  • If electricity has been off, refrigerated food may have spoiled. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours or that has an unusual odor or color.
  • Babies on formula should be given ready-to-feed formula or powdered formula prepared with bottled water.
  • Wash hands with soap and disinfected water before eating or handling food, after clean-up work and after handling flood water-contaminated items.

Environmental Hazards

  • No one should re-enter a building while flooded unless the main electrical switch has been turned off.
  • Snakes and other wild animals may seek shelter in homes, vehicles and trees. They are often injured in heavy rains and winds. Do not handle any wildlife. Seek immediate treatment if bitten or injured by an animal. Beware of displaced pets.
  • Return home in daylight for best visibility to be aware of any unsafe power sources. Do not use lanterns or torches until after the premises are safe from gas leaks.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites with an EPA-registered insect repellent. Standing water after floods can be a breeding place for mosquitoes. Drain all the standing water you can and dump out containers like toys, flower pots and saucers, old tires, cans and storm debris.
  • Always wear shoes in post-flood areas to reduce the chances of punctures or cuts from nails and other sharp objects.


  • People with puncture wounds or cuts exposed to flood water could be at risk of contracting tetanus if they haven’t had a tetanus vaccination within the last 10 years.
  • People up-to-date on vaccinations do not need any additional vaccines.


  • Never run gas-powered electrical generators or use gas or charcoal grills indoors. Carbon monoxide can build up and be fatal to people indoors.
  • Never mix bleach with products that contain ammonia to prevent the creation of toxic fumes.
  • Don’t let children play in or near flood water or storm drains.
  • Disinfect all furniture, woodwork, household surfaces and toys in homes that have flooded. Use a solution of one cup bleach to five gallons of water.
  • Wash hands frequently during cleanup to help avoid contaminating areas that have already been cleaned.
  • To prevent allergic reactions and other health problems caused by mold, replace flood-damaged wallboard starting at least 12 inches above the waterline.
  • Try to rest and conserve energy and avoid heat stress. People with heart conditions and other illnesses should avoid strenuous exertion.