Texas set to recover after wreckage of Hurricane Harvey

By Alexis Bell
Staff Writer

While the residents of Houston await rescue amidst devastation and flooding, another Texas city succumbed to Tropical Storm Harvey on Wednesday, Aug. 30, according to CNN.

The mayor of Port Arthur, Texas, Derrick Freeman, posted on Facebook, “Our whole city is underwater right now but we are coming! If you called, we are coming!”

Floodwater from Hurricane Harvey overcomes Port Arthur. (AP Photo)
Floodwater from Hurricane Harvey overcomes Port Arthur. (AP Photo)

As of Wednesday, Aug. 30, Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath has caused at least 37 deaths that have been reported in Texas, according to CNN.

One of the victims include Houston Police Department Sgt. Steve Perez. The Washington Post reported that the 60-year-old police sergeant drowned in his patrol car while attempting to get to work and aid the relief efforts.

“Unfortunately in the darkness, Sgt. Perez drove into an underpass that’s about 16 1/2 feet, drove into the water and he died in a drowning-type event,” said Chief Art Acevedo, according to NPR. “Steve is one of the sweetest people in this department and I’ve been here only nine months. We have 6,500 employees and I knew who Steve Perez was because he was a sweet, gentle public servant.”

Other victims included a homeless man who drowned in a Walmart parking lot and a woman who died after a tree fell onto her mobile home, according to The Washington Post.

The New York Times reported one mother was swept away into a canal while her child survived. Rescuers in Beaumont on Tuesday, Aug. 29, discovered the toddler in a pink backpack clinging to her mother’s body in the floodwaters. The child was in stable condition with hypothermia.

“Had we been a few moments later, they would have been swept underneath (a trestle) and our boats wouldn’t have been able to get them … a true testament of a mother who put her own life at risk and sacrificed her life to save her child. That was devastating,” said Haley Morrow, a spokeswoman for the Beaumont Emergency Management Office, according to CNN.

More than 30,000 people are currently in 230 shelters across Texas, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said, but that number is likely to increase dramatically as more people arrive. In addition, 1,800 people have already been transferred from shelters to local motels and hotels, according to The New York Times.

Houston finally has some sunshine in their forecast, after five straight days of rain that totaled up to 52 inches — the heaviest tropical downpour ever in the United States, according to CBS.

The storm isn’t over. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas held a press conference this Wednesday afternoon to discuss recovery efforts in response to flooding and continuing rainfall, CBS reported.

“The worst is not yet over for southeast Texas,” said Abbott, according to CBS.

About 2,000 more Texas National Guard members have been activated to assist in the efforts, making 14,000 the total number of Texas guardsmen deployed. 10,000 more members of the National Guard from other states are expected to arrive in the state soon and aid the relief efforts, according to Abbott.