Article by Mayako Kruger
Since Friday the 25th of August, rain had been pelting the roofs in Texas. Hurricane Harvey, the worst storm in a decade, circled around the Gulf of Mexico flooding the towns of Texas. The Category 4 storm with winds up to 130 miles per hour injured 14 people while taking the lives of 2. Additionally, approximately 4,500 inmates were evacuated from three different state prisons due to a nearby river rising.
One of the most damaged cities was Rockport, a coastal city with a population of 10,000 directly in the storm’s path. Around 300,000 citizens were left stranded without power across the state, with up to 30 inches of rain predicted. With record breaking destruction, 30,000 people are being moved to emergency shelters.
Not only are people stranded in their houses with flooding, ships in the ocean are unable to dock. Several carnival cruise ships were unable to return to the Texas port after the water levels began rising rapidly.
Emergency Shelters have been reaching their maximum capacity, leaving many stranded in the streets. A local pastor in North Houston opened up the doors of his church providing a roof over the evacuees’ heads. There is limited water supplies while the food ran out early Monday morning. Many of the people are anxious about drinking the tap water as it could be contaminated.
Debbie Elder, a Director at Shady Oak Primary School was caught in the storm, and needed to evacuate to her school immediately. “We cooked in our school kitchen and watched Netflix on our SMART Board,” she stated as she waited for the water levels to decrease. When asked about how the community came together, she responded, “There are several shelters set up around the city and many friends have opened their homes to others less fortunate. The people from Louisiana have arrived in droves with their flat bottom Bay boats and are rescuing people from their homes and getting them safely to dry land. Local churches are collecting donations, sorting and delivering to those in need.”
The president of the United States and the first lady visited the struggling state on Tuesday. They touched on relief efforts, toured the Emergency Operations Center and had a briefing with state leaders.
Citizens of Texas are trying their best to overcome the struggles, and are helping other communities knowing they would do the same if a disaster hit.
Photo Credit: Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times