Texas floods: Indians still in critical condition, death toll rises

Time & Us
Last Updated: August 30, 2017 at 12:43 am

WASHINGTON: The death toll from tropical storm Harvey, which battered the US for a fifth day, rose to 10 on Tuesday, with two Indian students from Texas A&M University still in critical condition.
However, 200 other Indian students — marooned at the University of Houston — were now safe and well supplied with fresh food, thanks to efforts by the by the Muslim Association of Greater Houston and the local Swaminarayan temple.
“For now, they are staying where they were as the water level had receded there and power supply had resumed,” consul general at Houston Anupam Ray, who reached the students at their apartments, said.
The Indian consulate is surrounded by water but the building, which stands on stilts, is safe and a group of officials are working from there, manning the station. It can still be accessed but only via a circuitous route, which may not last long.
Some officials are working from home, and some have moved in with friends and acquaintances. But no one is leaving town. “We will not leave,” said Ray. “This is our station, our duty.”
“We are getting, understandably, a number of communications from worried friends and relatives in India seeking details about family and friends in distress in Houston due to flooding or informing us about whereabouts of friends/family who might require rescue,” Ray earlier posted on Facebook.
The consulate has shared numbers for queries about specific individuals (+18322311988) and the emergency line (+17136262149) for those needing help.
The Indian-American community in Houston, which has a substantial presence, is also helping in relief and rescue work, reaching food and sleeping bags to those at private and public shelters. “We helped rescue an American family that a had a five-year-old child on ventilator with no power backup,” said Jiten Aggarwal, who runs an IT business.
President Donald Trump, who is visiting some of the affected areas on Tuesday, told reporters: “I look very much forward to it. Things are being handled really well. The spirit is incredible, of the people.” He warned that the adjoining state of Louisiana could be impacted as well.
Meanwhile, two 70-year-old reservoir dams that protect downtown Houston from flooding began overflowing on Tuesday, adding to the rising floodwaters from Harvey. Engineers began releasing water from the reservoirs on Monday to ease the strain on the dams. But the releases were not enough to relieve the pressure — both reservoirs are at record highs.
The release of the water means that more homes and streets will flood, and some homes will be inundated for up to a month, said Jeff Lindner of the Harris County flood control district.