Texans Step Up

In the wake of ongoing tragedy, the people of Texas continue to show bravery, care, and selflessness towards strangers in need. In Harris County, 30 percent of which is underwater—an area roughly the size of Austin—thousands of trapped residents have been rescued and transported to shelter: 3,500 people saved by the Houston Police Department, 2,200 by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and many more by citizens. After 911 lines were flooded with calls, hundreds of residents, trapped by rising flood levels across the region, have posted on social media for rescue. And their fellow Texans have shown up with boats and supplies and full hearts, providing shelters in local businesses, forming human chains to help those in need reach safety, and opening their homes  to families displaced by the storm.

Rising Death Toll

As Houston and Southeast Texas continue to reach record levels of rainfall—in five days, 51.88 inches have fallen over Cedar Bayou, more than many U.S. cities receive in a year—the death toll continues to climb, as residents drown in flooded houses and cars. So far, there have been 31 confirmed and suspected deaths from flooding across Texas, including a Houston police officer who drowned on his way to work, and a family of six whose van was swept into Greens Bayou on Sunday.

The Cats and Dogs of Texas

For many evacuees awaiting rescue, their most prized possession is a Texan canine or feline. But some have no choice but to leave their beloved pets behind and hope for their survival. Rescuers have saved hundreds of animals so far, including Betty Walter, a Houstonian who rescued 21 dogs from her neighborhood, spending 14 hours with them in her attic before two men with a boat brought her and the dogs to safety. As flooding continues, more displaced animals are anticipated: shelters, like the Animal Care Services Department in San Antonio, are flying animals to New Jersey and Washington to make room for more canine and feline evacuees.