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29 August 2017

Living hell for Houston, Texas as more rain coming

Rescue boats fill a flooded street as flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. Picture: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

IT’S the monster storm that’s wreaking havoc on Texas. These images reveal the shocking conditions people are living in, as the storm is set to hit again.

SHELTERS BECOME LAST RESORT

The second night inside the George R. Brown Convention Center was louder, more crowded and at times, more chaotic.

People who escaped rising floodwaters and pouring rain spawned by Harvey arrived at the shelter Monday night by the busload and truckload even as the convention center exceeded its capacity of 5,000.

At one point, officers tended to two men lying unresponsive in front of an exit, pushing away onlookers. The men had taken drugs and would both recover within an hour.

Volunteers sort through donated clothing at a shelter in the George R. Brown Convention Center during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Picture: AFP

Volunteers sort through donated clothing at a shelter in the George R. Brown Convention Center during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Frustration grew in some places, more than three days after the storm ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane before transforming into a tropical storm that currently sits parked over the Gulf of Mexico ahead of an expected return to shore. One person said she had only gotten one meal Monday while watching others take several helpings of food.

Another person, Kevin Perkins, described sleeping on the floor and feeling accosted by police officers inside.

Theresa Ross receives a tank of oxygen when she arrived to the George R. Brown Convention Center seeking shelter with her husband in Houston. Picture: Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via AP

Theresa Ross receives a tank of oxygen when she arrived to the George R. Brown Convention Center seeking shelter with her husband in Houston. Picture: Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via APSource:AP

“It’s hell,” Perkins said. He shook his head and walked away as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, during a visit to the convention center Monday, approached near where he was standing.

“All my stuff damaged. I have no clothes, no shoes, no nothing,” he said. The din inside eventually fell as thousands of people went to bed. Around 7,000 people had arrived before midnight, with more people still coming. Harvey will drop more rain Tuesday on a city crippled by floodwaters that have swamped streets and neighbourhoods. The demands on the convention center were expected to grow, even while a new shelter opened Monday night and city officials considered opening more.

Thousands take shelter from the Tropical Storm Harvey at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Picture: Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via AP

Thousands take shelter from the Tropical Storm Harvey at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Picture: Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via APSource:AP

With more guests than cots, some people slept on chairs or the floor. They relied on blankets and pillows provided by the American Red Cross. People hung towels and wet clothes on the base of the ceiling supports inside the convention hall. Police officers guarded several entrances. Outside, dozens of people still awake stood with their pets and traded cigarettes.

For Howard Thomas, the shelter was a place of last resort.

Oscar Galindo, Donato Galindo, 2, Oscar Galindo, 11, Andre Galindo, 9, and Maria Rodriguez relax while taking shelter at the George R Brown Convention Center. Picture: Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via AP

Oscar Galindo, Donato Galindo, 2, Oscar Galindo, 11, Andre Galindo, 9, and Maria Rodriguez relax while taking shelter at the George R Brown Convention Center. Picture: Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via APSource:AP

Thomas described himself as living on the streets. He had spent the three previous nights at a $55-a-night motel. But he ran out of money Monday morning. He was picked up from the motel and taken to the convention center, where he waited to check in carrying just a blue tote bag with his belongings. “I’m hoping I can get a place of my own, even if it’s just a one-room shack, just as long as I’m out of the elements, off the street,” he said.

People are rescued from a flooded neighborhood after it was inundated with rain water, remnants of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Picture: Getty

People are rescued from a flooded neighborhood after it was inundated with rain water, remnants of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Picture: GettySource:AFP

MUM REUNITED WITH BABY

A Houston mother has thanked the policeman who rescued her daughter after they got separated in the floods.

Dajauh Zhane Henix took to social media to ask for help to locate her baby girl named Paige.

Harris County police officers who rescued her had also put out a Facebook post showing a picture of Paige.

Henix saw the photo and thanked officers in a comment on the picture after she had been reunited.

“Thank you sooooo much for keeping her with you!!! You are a life saver,” she wrote with a heart emoji, adding, “greatly appreciated”.

This aerial photo shows damaged homes in Corpus Christi, Texas. Picture: Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP

This aerial photo shows damaged homes in Corpus Christi, Texas. Picture: Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via APSource:AP

SWAT TEAM RESCUE MUM AND BABY

Aiden Pham — 13 months old and swaddled in a blanket — is seen asleep in his mother’s arms, even as the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey surge around them.

Someday, no doubt, Aiden’s mother will tell him about the day Houston police rescued them from their flooded home by boat, and about how one officer lifted them to safety. But thanks to the careful eye of a veteran Associated Press photographer assigned to cover the storm, the world already knows the mother, child and officer as the faces of the struggle to deal with the devastation.

This aerial photo shows a view of damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas. Picture: Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP

This aerial photo shows a view of damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas. Picture: Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via APSource:AP

“I was just keeping an eye out and as soon as I saw the SWAT team member carrying her and then seeing the baby, I just couldn’t believe that baby was wrapped up in there and not crying,” photographer David Phillip said of the moment Sunday afternoon when his lens found the trio. “It was just tender. It was very special.”

Phillip’s photo shows officer Daryl Hudeck, in baseball cap and fatigues, carrying Catherine Pham and the son she cradled through knee-deep water covering Interstate 610, in southwest Houston.

This image has gone viral as many share their stories of survival.

Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Catherine Pham and her 13-month-old son Aiden after rescuing them from their home surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey. Picture: AP

Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Catherine Pham and her 13-month-old son Aiden after rescuing them from their home surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey. Picture: APSource:AP

This aerial photo shows a view of damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas. Picture: Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP

This aerial photo shows a view of damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas. Picture: Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via APSource:AP

TRUMP TO TOUR TEXAS

Donald Trump is expected to arrive in Texas on Tuesday, aiming to show unity in the face of what he called the “terrible tragedy” wrought by monster storm Harvey’s devastating rains.

The US president and his wife Melania are not slated to visit Houston, America’s fourth largest city where rescue teams were scrambling to reach hundreds of stranded people as Harvey appeared poised to strike again.

Rescue boats fill a flooded street as flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise. Picture: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Rescue boats fill a flooded street as flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise. Picture: AP Photo/David J. PhillipSource:AP

They will instead make stops further west, including hard-hit Corpus Christi, for briefings on relief efforts as catastrophic flooding has crippled parts of the massive state’s southeast.

The medical examiner’s office for Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, confirmed six deaths since Sunday “potentially tied to Hurricane Harvey.” Three people were previously known to have died as a result of the storm.

People and rescue boats line a street at the east Sam Houston Tollway as evacuations continue from flooding in Houston, Texas. Picture: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP

People and rescue boats line a street at the east Sam Houston Tollway as evacuations continue from flooding in Houston, Texas. Picture: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via APSource:AP

“We are one American family,” Trump said Monday, eager to present himself as a unifying figure in the face of natural disaster — after leading for seven months a White House plagued by controversy, much of it self-generated.

He promised the federal government would be on hand to help Texas along the “long and difficult road to recovery” from the historic storm.

A rescue truck brings people to a street intersection at the east Sam Houston Tollway as evacuations continue from flooding in Houston. Picture: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP

A rescue truck brings people to a street intersection at the east Sam Houston Tollway as evacuations continue from flooding in Houston. Picture: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via APSource:AP

A boy is lifted from a rescue truck on a street at the east Sam Houston Tollway as evacuations continue from flooding in Houston. Picture: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP

A boy is lifted from a rescue truck on a street at the east Sam Houston Tollway as evacuations continue from flooding in Houston. Picture: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via APSource:AP

MORE RAIN TO COME

With nearly 61cm of rain expected on top of the 76cm in some places, authorities worried the worst might be yet to come.

The storm is generating an amount of rain that would normally be seen only once in more than 1,000 years, said Edmond Russo, a deputy district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, which was concerned that floodwater would spill around a pair of 70-year-old reservoir dams that protect downtown Houston.

Cattle is seen on land amid flooding from the Colorado River in La Grange, Texas. Picture: Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP

Cattle is seen on land amid flooding from the Colorado River in La Grange, Texas. Picture: Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via APSource:AP

Harvey increased slightly in strength on Monday as it drifted back over the warm Gulf, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters expect the system to stay over water with 72kph winds for 36 hours and then head back inland east of Houston on Wednesday. The system will then head north and lose its tropical strength.

Before then, up to 51cm of rain could fall, National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said.

An evacuee is helped to dry land after her home was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Picture: AFP

An evacuee is helped to dry land after her home was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

That means the flooding will get worse in the days ahead and the floodwaters will be slow to recede once Harvey finally moves on, the weather service said.

On Tuesday or early Wednesday, parts of the Houston region will probably break the nearly 40-year-old US record for the biggest rainfall from a tropical system 48 inches set by Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978 in Texas, meteorologists said.

The amount of water in Houston was so unprecedented that the weather service on Wednesday had to update the colour charts on its official rainfall maps to indicate the heavier totals.

Gator Country’s owner has had to take precautions to protect the alligators and other animals amid flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey. Gary Saurage posted a Facebook update on Monday, August 28, showing the extensive flooding on the Beaumont property. He also thanked everyone who has helped secure the property and the animals, but he sent the staff away to get to higher ground. If the water gets any higher, the alligators living in the area could swim over the fences, he told a local news outlet. The more dangerous animals, those not native to Texas, were moved to higher ground, he said. In his Facebook video, Saurage promised Gator Country would rebound after the flooding. “I promise you we’re going to make a comeback. I don’t quit that easy,” he says. Credit: Facebook/Gary Saurage via Storyful

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