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Houston sinks in the floods

Monday, August 28th, 2017 | World News

The US metropolis of Houston and other places in Texas are under water. An end of the destruction and its consequences by Hurricane "Harvey" are not in sight. Tens of thousands of people are homeless. Authorities report a third death sacrifice. According to Texas, US President Donald Trump has now also called for a disaster for Louisiana.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the United States spoke of "unprecedented flooding", and on Monday predicted further heavy rainfall. The authorities estimated that they had to accommodate more than 30,000 people in emergency accommodation.

The city center of Houston (US state of Texas) is flooded (Source: LM Otero / AP / dpa)

 The continual rain was among other things in Houston, the fourth largest city in the USA, for floods. Within 24 hours there had fallen 60 centimeters of rain there. There are about 2.3 million people living in the city, more than six million in the metropolitan area.

Hundreds of thousands of people were without electricity in Houston on Monday, because the cables, which were often laid over wooden masts, could not withstand the violence of wind and water.

 All traffic comes to a standstill
Two hospitals in Houston had to be evacuated. The most important highways were also affected by the floods. "The streets on which you are traveling daily are completely under water," said the resident John Travis of the AFP news agency.

Victims of the flood catastrophe through the tropical storm "Harvey" in Houston (source: David J. Phillip / AP / dpa)

  The flight operations at the two airports of the Texas metropolis came to a standstill, including the much-used air traffic cross George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Parts of a street in Rosenberg near Houston have been swept away by water masses. (Source: Rosenberg Police Department / AP / dpa)

Within 15 hours, 56,000 emergency calls were registered in Houston – seven times more than usual. The city's disaster control authorities asked the inhabitants to save themselves on the roof if the top floor of their house was no longer safe. So far, more than 2,000 rescuers have been brought to safety.

"Exceeds all expectations"
The US Disaster Prevention Agency (FEMA) called on the population to participate in the relief work. "I ask all residents to help," said the head of the agency, Brocklong, on Monday. Currently, the storm is moving very slowly from the spot, the NHC said. He is heading towards the sea, and he will return mid-week and bring more rain.

Catastrophic & life-threatening flooding in Texas with the flood risk in Louisiana #Harvey https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/5OV4okauJz- NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) August 28, 2017
The head of the National Weather Service, Louis Uccellini, told a press conference in Washington that the further development of the storm was "difficult to predict." In the next few days, another 50 centimeters of rain per square meter of water could be added, the National Weather Service predicted. "We do not expect the highlight until Thursday or Friday," said Uccellini.

Trump calls for disaster for Louisiana
The heavy rain dropped slightly in the night of the Monday, but according to the National Weather Service should be stronger again by the afternoon (local time). "Harvey" could be predicted to move further to Louisiana.

A woman paddles her kayak on a street in League City, Texas (Source: Stuart Villanueva / The Galveston County Daily News / AP / dpa)
For the state, US President Donald Trump called the disaster on Monday. On the basis of the decision, federal funds can be released to remedy the expected storm damage. Prior to this, the catastrophe was already the case for Texas, the most affected by the storm sequences.

Discussion about the date of the evacuations
Houston's mayor Sylvester Turner dismissed allegations that evacuations had been made too late. To send numerous people out of their houses to the streets is not arranged easily, he told journalists.

The station ABC showed pictures of a father and his six-year-old son who were saved by helicopters from the second floor of their house. Both wore only a backpack. "That's all we have," said the father. "We thank God, we thank God."

Man rescues a family from flooding in Houston, including young children and a puppy. "See you later, house!" Https://t.co/3I0JZ41veI pic.twitter.com/nfqo99qoP5- ABC News (@ABC) August 28, 2017
The US disaster relief agency Fema stated that more than 30,000 flood victims are expected to be accommodated in emergency accommodation. The rescue teams would "have a very heavy weight," said Fema boss Brocklong at the Washington press conference.

Strongest storm in twelve years
Apart from the fire brigade and the police, thousands of national gardists and the civilian population also took part in the rescue operations. The Texas governor Greg Abbott said the situation would continue to worsen. Even now the damage "went into the billions".

Boats full of water, partly sunken, lie in Rockport (USA) at a pier. (Source: Eric Gay / AP / dpa)
"Harvey" was hit on Friday as a hurricane of the second-highest category in Texas on land. It was the strongest cyclone on US mainland for twelve years. Later he was downgraded to a tropical storm, but continued to carry heavy rains.

Authorities report third death sacrifice
On Sunday a third death was confirmed: A woman died in Houston, when she wanted to save herself from a car on a flooded street. The authorities are assuming further death sacrifices. However, salvage has not yet been a priority, reports the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

The highways around Houston – like the interstates 45 – were flooded by the crash caused by the hurricane. (Source: Richard Carson / Reuters)

The US government in the White House announced on Sunday that President Donald Trump will visit the affected areas on Tuesday. On Twitter, Trump had written that he would not travel to Texas unless this caused "disruption" of the disaster. The focus must be "on life and safety".

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