The authorities refused from the idea to evacuate the cities and urged people in flooded areas to climb on roofs awaiting rescue
The fourth largest U.S. city, Houston, and vast areas in Southeast Texas were under water due to torrential rains of historic proportions. The downpour resumed in the evening on Sunday, complicating the work of rescue.
In the flood zone being hundreds of rescue operations involving helicopters and boats. In some cases, rescuers make their way through the water on foot. To emergency services – firefighters, police, doctors – volunteers joined. Three thousand National guard troops were ordered to do everything in their power “to protect people’s lives”.
In small towns and remote areas, cut off from the outside world catastrophic flooding is likely yet to make the tragic discovery. But it is noteworthy that after the hurricane “Harvey” hit the Gulf coast on Friday evening, reports of casualties there were quite a few.
Currently, the hurricane weakened to tropical storm level. The danger he represented, intensified because of its atypical trajectory. Unleashed on the coast, the cyclone was moving very slowly. It warmed up the humidity from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and he was carrying all the new rains of extraordinary power. All major highways leading to Houston turned into rivers. Both airports serving the city were closed.
The correspondent of “voice of America” Celia Mendoza on Sunday handed over from Houston: “People are stunned. Everything is closed. People worry about what will happen to them with their neighbors, with their houses”. Mendoza, like other journalists working at the scene, was forced to leave the area due to the advancing water.
The mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner stated that the organizational problem in large-scale evacuation would be inevitable. He defended his actions at a press conference on Sunday evening, stating that it would be “madness” to try to move millions of people in such a short time.
In the Houston area have dropped to 65 inches of precipitation, but meteorologists admit that this figure could double by Friday.
Turner asked where it would be possible to place six million residents of Houston and its suburbs, given that the city is the largest metropolis in this part of Texas, which itself is the second most populous US state. The mayor insisted that his decision not to give the order to evacuate was reasonable and answered to the best interests of the citizens.
As for the people caught in flood zones, representatives of the emergency services encouraged them not to hide in attics and attic spaces, since there are fears that the water can rise up to this level and then they will be trapped in a confined space. Rescuers gave simple advice: get on the roof and attract attention by waving the white cloth.
Sunday in the skies over Houston and its surroundings were 22 aircraft and helicopters, responding to constant calls for help and looking for people who climbed on the roof. Many people were evacuated using helicopters. Authorities also sent hundreds of boats in search of survivors. Some people managed to get out of the flooded areas on kayaks, canoes or inflatable rafts.
Some people have decided that they can get to a safe place, despite the water that they are on a belt or on the chest, but the authorities urge them to resist the urge to feel the full force of the water flow.
By Sunday evening the number of confirmed deaths did not exceed two, but the authorities expect that the number of victims and the damage will grow.
President Donald trump plans to visit the disaster zone on Tuesday, but only if it becomes clear that his visit will not interfere with rescue operations, said at the White house.
The national hurricane center warned of possible “unprecedented” floods that threaten people’s lives in Southeast Texas. The national weather service reported that “the rains of such a magnitude and intensity not previously observed.”
It is expected that on Monday night over certain areas of Houston there will be thunderstorms. Meteorologists warn about the possibility of a tornado.
Summarizing the problems faced by rescuers, Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed gratitude to the countrymen for their support and resources. He specifically thanked “very effective Federal partner” to accede to all requests for assistance.
The white house announced that the President trump held a meeting of the Cabinet devoted to natural disaster, and stated that it expects that Federal agencies will provide all necessary assistance to the authorities of Texas and neighboring Louisiana.
The head of the Federal emergency management Agency Brock long, speaking on CNN Sunday, said that the staff of his office will be working in the affected storm areas, “a few years”. He called the disaster “out of the ordinary event.”
Several refineries in the Houston area were closed Sunday due to the ongoing storm. These plants account for about 12 percent of fuel production in the US, and reports about the closure raised concerns about the shortages of gasoline in coming days.
“Harvey” was the strongest hurricane to strike the continental territory of the United States for ten years.