Relief Efforts at Capacity as Harvey Turns to Louisiana

Relief Efforts at Capacity as Harvey Turns to Louisiana

The tropical storm continues to wreak havoc several days after making landfall.

By Katelyn Newman , Digital Producer, Staff Writer Aug. 29, 2017, at 9:21 a.m.

A home is surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Spring, Texas. Experts say only two of ten homeowners living in Harvey’s path of destruction have flood insurance. (AP/David J. Phillip)

A home is surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Monday in Spring, Texas. (DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP)

 All eyes remain on southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana as Tropical Storm Harvey moves northeast and continues to bring rain, causing extreme flooding, mass evacuations and damage beyond established federal, state and local relief capacities.

Originally making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25, Harvey downgraded to a tropical storm Aug. 26, maintaining 45 mph winds as of Tuesday. It is expected to produce 7 to 13 inches more of accumulated rain through Friday over parts of the upper Texas coast and southwestern Louisiana, the National Weather Service reported. Some isolated storms may cause areas of the upper Texas coast, like the Houston/Galveston metropolitan area, to reach storm totals of 50 inches of rain – surpassing state records and causing catastrophic flooding.

At least 10 people have lost their lives in relation to the storm, though that number is expected to rise in the next few days, local officials announced Monday.

Damage inflicted by Harvey has been initially estimated to cost up to $30 billion, well above the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s allotted $3.8 billion budget. The cost for Texans is further compounded by the fact that less than a third of property owners in Texas have flood insurance on their homes and businesses.

About 30,000 are expected to seek emergency shelter and more than 450,000 people are likely to seek federal aid, which will be needed for years, FEMA said Monday. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump plan to fly to Texas Tuesday, visiting Corpus Christi and then traveling to Austin for multiple briefings on the damage and ongoing relief efforts.

 Elsewhere, Harvey is expected to yield 5 to 15 inches of rain across south-central Louisiana as well as 5 to 10 inches across southeast Louisiana, coastal Mississippi and Alabama through Friday, the National Weather Service reported.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price declared a public health emergency in Texas on Saturday and in Louisiana on Monday in response to the storm. His department has so far deployed about 550 personnel to help state and local authorities respond to communities’ medical needs, according to a press release.

“As Louisiana and Texas contend with the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, HHS is committed to doing all that we can to ensure that those affected by this storm receive the vital assistance and support they need,” Price said in a statement.

NASA astronauts are also keeping an eye on the storm, tweeting images of the incredible storm from the International Space Station as well as sending well wishes to those affected.

“#Harvey – still a menace! Hearts & prayers go out to families, friends, & fellow Texans dealing with this storm. #TexasStrong #HoustonStrong,” Astronaut Randy Bresnik wrote Monday evening.

More than 30000 people expected in shelters after Harvey