“Harvey” leaves devastation in houston

Devastating floods after tropical storm harvey make up to

30,000 people temporarily homeless in texas. The metropolis of houston, which is home to 6.5 million people, has been particularly hard hit.

The U.S. Disaster management agency FEMA called on the entire population to participate in the relief work. "I am asking all residents to help," said the head of the authority, brock long, on monday.

Rapid improvement is not in sight : "we are seeing catastrophic flooding, which is likely to get worse because the water is slow to drain," said the head of the national weather service, louis uccellini. The storm sucked up an extreme amount of moisture over the gulf of mexico, which was very warm at the end of the summer, and is now releasing it again as rain.

The heavy rain eased somewhat during the night to monday, but was expected to become heavier again by the afternoon (local time), according to uccellini. In the next few days, another 50 centimeters of rain per square meter could be added to the already extreme water levels. "We don’t expect it to peak until thursday or friday," the weather expert said.

Hundreds of thousands of people were without power on monday because the lines, many of which were laid across wooden poles, could not withstand the force of wind and water. At least two people died. Authorities assume further fatalities. But recovery is not the main concern so far.

Rescue crews focused on getting people in danger to safety. The teams proceeded with boats and helicopters. The infrastructure in and around houston has largely collapsed. The city’s international airport is closed until further notice. Many roads and highways are impassable, classes in schools have been canceled.

Outside houston, too, the storm leveled many homes to the ground. Polluted drinking water became more and more of a problem. Authorities urged people to boil drinking water.

TV stations showed pictures of old people’s homes from which people in wheelchairs had to be rescued. Seniors were hoisted into rubber dinghies, parents waded through the night rain with crying children. Churches opened their doors as shelters for flood victims. The city of dallas made its convention center ready.

"Harvey also dealt a severe blow to the oil industry in the houston area. Many refineries are closed, announced among others the oil companies shell and exxon. Experts estimate that 22 percent of the oil demand in the gulf of mexico is currently at a standstill and that one million barrels (159 liters each) of oil are not being processed every day. Houston is connected to the open sea near the coastal city of galveston by a canal about 100 kilometers long. The refineries and other facilities along the waterway are largely dense.

Houston mayor sylvester turner defended his decision not to evacuate the city of millions as a precaution despite the approaching hurricane. Instead, the city government advised residents to seek safety within the city. "We did the best we could for the people of houston and their safety," turner said. FEMA chief long also justified the decision. An evacuation of the rough city had taken several days, he said.

For u.S. President donald trump, this is the first major natural disaster he has been confronted with in his roughly seven months in office. At the request of texas governor greg abbott, trump had already declared a state of emergency for parts of south texas on friday. So that federal aid can fly more quickly to the disaster area. Trump also repeatedly praised the work of rescue teams on twitter over the weekend and invoked the cohesiveness of americans.

Abbott, the governor of texas, declared 50 counties as emergency areas. According to him, 3,000 members of the national guard have been deployed and 250 remote roads have been closed since "harvey" hit the texas coast near rockport as a powerful hurricane on friday night (local time).

The national hurricane center (NHC) downgraded "harvey" – initially listed in the second-highest category four – so that it is no longer considered a hurricane, but the torrential rain continues: from the city of corpus christi in the east to houston in the west, the hurricanes are still in the air. Parts of the neighboring state of louisiana could also be affected in the next few days.

According to meteorologists, harvey is the second strongest hurricane since katrina hit the new orleans area twelve years ago.


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