Hurricane Harvey | KERA News

Hurricane Harvey

Christina Broussard was trapped in her grandmother's living room for three days during Hurricane Harvey. Rain poured through the ceiling in the bathrooms and bedrooms.

Broussard's a student at Houston Community College. Her grandmother is 74 and uses a wheelchair.

"We had peanut butter, tuna, crackers, we had plenty of water," she remembers. "We were hungry, but we managed. We tried to make light jokes about it — we said we were on a fast." And to pass the time? "We prayed."

Martin do Nascimento / KUT News

More than 50 local and national charities have raised more than $350 million in the nearly three weeks since Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast, and the disparate groups are trying to decide on priorities while some storm victims still await help.

While we’re still a long way from understanding the full environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey, the damage has been done, and experts say Harvey has highlighted inconsistencies in Texas’ ability to contain hazardous materials in the face of future storms.

The National Guard photo by: Lt. Zachary West , 100th MPAD / Flickr

One safeguard many people opt out of is flood insurance. This already powerful hurricane season has shown everyone the devastation rising waters can cause, and only two in 10 homeowners in Harvey’s path had flood insurance.

 

Insurance expert Burl Daniel, based in Fort Worth, explains the importance of having coverage across the state, including North Texas.

Medical professionals are keeping an eye out for people having difficulty dealing with the trauma of losing their homes during Hurricane Harvey.

From Texas Standard:

Up to 500,000 cars took on water during Hurricane Harvey. Not having a vehicle in car-dependent Texas could be a significant hardship. And those looking for a used car to replace a flooded one should be wary of buying storm-damaged rides.

Where will it go? How strong will it be? When will it hit? Those are the answers everyone wants — not the least of which are the hurricane forecasters themselves.

To get those answers, hundreds of millions of data points — everything from wind speeds to sea temperatures — pouring in from satellites, aircraft, balloons, buoys and ground stations are fed into the world's fastest computers and programmed with a variety of models at different resolutions, some looking at the big picture, others zooming in much closer.

America seems to be a magnet for devastating hurricanes these days.

This year, Harvey came out strong with its horrific toll on parts of Texas and Louisiana. Now Irma, downgraded slightly Friday morning to a Category 4 storm from its most recent days as a Category 5, has left destruction in its wake as it plows through the Caribbean and Cuba — and is on path to hit Florida Sunday morning.

Of all the churches on the Texas coast battered by Hurricane Harvey, one of the hardest hit is St. Peter Catholic Church in Rockport. As it happens, St. Peter is the heart and soul of Aransas County's large Vietnamese population.

"This used to be our church. I haven't been inside to see the devastation," said Leah Oliva, a catechist and secretary there, as she gingerly stepped over broken glass and clumps of insulation.

Texas will be cleaning up and rebuilding from Hurricane Harvey for a long time, and Hurricane Irma is getting ready to hit Florida hard. When a natural disaster strikes, many people have an immediate urge to help. But as the waters – and news coverage – subside, so can attention. 

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House approved $15 billion in aid to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey's destruction in southeast Texas on Friday, sending the legislation to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature. 

As some residents of South Texas begin to dry out their homes and belongings, significant challenges lie ahead as the city of Houston and others in the affected area look to recover and rebuild.

Congress is fast-tracking billions of dollars in recovery funding. But just because that down payment on Harvey recovery is on the way, that doesn't mean the rebuilding of Houston and other areas hammered by the storm's high winds and historic rains will go quickly or smoothly.

Here are five challenges ahead for the Harvey recovery:

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Democratic congressional leaders announced Wednesday that they had reached a deal with President Trump in an Oval Office meeting to pass hurricane relief funding this week, along with measures to push off pressing fiscal deadlines to December — over the apparent objections of Republican leaders.

Medical workers in Houston are dealing with a secondary problem after last week's floods: Clinics that offer methadone and other opioid addiction therapies are just getting back up and running, and many people don't have access to the treatments they need.

Children's Health System

There are a number of differences between the shelters housing Harvey evacuees and the ones where victims of Katrina went 12 years ago. A big one is telemedicine. Children, especially, are being treated by doctors in remote locations.

 

Courtney Collins / KERA news

One essential item that runs out quickly and many families can't live without is diapers. Toddlers need six to eight every day, and infants can go through up to 12.

In the aftermath of Harvey, and with Hurricane Irma cranking up in the Atlantic, diapers are a key element in outfitting a shelter.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Immigrant evacuees in Houston are already struggling to rebuild their lives after Harvey. Now, some are worried about their future after President Trump’s decision to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Erik Ryan and Mia Reynolds from San Leon, Texas, sit at the picnic table at their campsite in Bastrop State Park. Reynolds, who is currently on hold with FEMA, says that she has been through storms before.

"I did not want to wait around for a politician to tell me to evacuate. I saw the storm on the news and had a bad feeling. That's when I decided to rent a U-Haul truck and pull out."

Reynolds pauses as a an electronic voice comes over the phone: "Your wait time is now 154 minutes."

From Texas Standard:

As the levels in Houston's two main reservoirs continue to drop, many Texans have begun cleaning up their waterlogged homes. And in Baytown, Exxon is rebooting its refinery, the second biggest in the U.S. But there’s much more to do.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Hurricane Harvey has been a tough slog for most Houstonians. For immigrants without papers, the barriers are even more daunting. An undocumented couple whose rental house was trashed by flooding is still waiting for help.

For a storm that has sparked references to flooding on a Biblical scale, it only makes sense that you'd find a kind of Noah's Ark in south Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

On the outskirts of Beaumont, Texas, two huge county fair pavilions the size of baseball diamonds have been transformed by volunteers into a makeshift livestock yard and animal shelter.

It's a bedlam of animals, animal handlers and supply trucks.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Houston bills itself the most diverse big city in America. A quarter of the population was born outside of the U.S. – and a third of that number is undocumented. Because of federal rules that limit aid to those residents, that presents a huge challenge after a disaster like Hurricane Harvey.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Fateyva Miles has been a mail carrier in the Houston area for three years. She moved there from Michigan.

“I kinda don’t like the flooding, but I love Houston,” she said.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

More than 3,000 evacuees are sheltering in North Texas. Sleeping on cots and recycling the same clothes every few days can be a grind.

At one Dallas shelter, just a few days before it closed, volunteers were bringing fun.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

Officials are still trying to confirm whether Texas floodwaters have spread contamination from decades-old toxic waste sites, as water recedes and residents return to homes that, in some cases, were flooded with water that passed over known contaminated areas.

Courtesy of Arkema Group Facebook page

As efforts to rebuild have slowly begun in areas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, officials continue to warn of lingering environmental hazards, including the health risks posed by receding floodwater.

Texas officials say all fires have been mostly extinguished at the Arkema chemical plant in the flood-ravaged Houston area after authorities launched controlled burns Sunday. Hurricane Harvey had damaged the plant, triggering several fires already.

The six remaining trailers were ignited at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

As soon as the floodwaters receded in East Houston, the Hernandez family got to work.

Michael Stravato / The Texas Tribune

Local, state and federal officials took to national airwaves Sunday to discuss recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey and project a largely positive message.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In Houston, baseball fans welcomed back their team on Saturday. The Astros played a double-header against the New York Mets – the first games at home since Harvey slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast.

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