Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: 'Compare it to Katrina'

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Story highlights

  • Abbott cautioned people about dangerous substances in the floodwaters
  • He anticipated needing more than $120 billion for relief

Washington (CNN)Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that his state was going to need a massive commitment from the federal government as it begins to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey.

"Let's not compare it to Sandy. Let's compare it to Katrina," Abbott told CNN's Dana Bash.
Abbott said the recovery from Harvey would require even more money than the package Congress appropriated for Hurricane Katrina relief, saying the total population and geographic range affected by Harvey could surpass both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy combined.
    "It's going to take years for us to be able to overcome this challenge," Abbott said.
    President Donald Trump has requested more than $7 billion dollars from Congress for an initial response to the damage from the storm. Abbott said all involved have made it clear this request was a "down payment" for what he estimated would be more than a $120 billion cost for the recovery effort.
    The storm and its resulting flooding damaged much of coastal Texas and Louisiana, and toxic waste sites in the region have sustained damage, increasing concern about toxic chemicals making their way into the environment.
    Abbott said the EPA was prepared to go into these damaged sites "as quickly as possible" and cautioned people further about toxic substances in the waters all over, not just near the sites.
    "These waters are filled both with chemicals, with waste and things like that, that can pose real health hazards," Abbott said.