Hurricane Harvey SPECIAL EDITION

Most Harvey flood victims uninsured, face big bills alone

Insurance experts say only a small fraction of homeowners in Harvey’s path of destruction have flood insurance. That means families with flooded basements, soaked furniture and water-damaged walls will have to dig deep into their pockets or take on more debt to fix up their homes. Some may be forced to sell, if they can, and leave their communities. “All these people taken out in boats, they have a second problem: They have no insurance,” said Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America. Harvey made landfall in Texas late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered off the coast, dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm. Hunter expects flood damage alone from the storm to cost at least $35 billion, about what Katrina cost. But in that 2005 hurricane about half of flooded homes were covered by flood insurance. With Harvey, only two of 10 homeowners have coverage, Hunter estimates. Homeowners insurance typically covers just damage from winds, not floods. For that, you need separate coverage from the federally run National Flood Insurance…


Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like


In all of U.S. history, there’s never been a storm like Hurricane Harvey. That fact is increasingly clear, even though the rains are still falling and the water levels in Houston are still rising. But there’s an uncomfortable point that, so far, everyone is skating around: We knew this would happen, decades ago. We knew this would happen, and we didn’t care. Now is the time to say it as loudly as possible: Harvey is what climate change looks like. More specifically, Harvey is what climate change looks like in a world that has decided, over and over, that it doesn’t want to take climate change seriously…


Corporations Pledge Millions Toward Relief Efforts For Tropical Storm Harvey

The strongest storm to hit Texas in decades has forced thousands of people into shelters and is incurring what some disaster experts project will total tens of billions’ worth of damage. Though Harvey is no longer classified as a hurricane, the National Weather Service is calling its aftermath “unprecedented” and “beyond anything experienced.” Here’s how a number of major corporations throughout the United States have responded to the storm that FEMA Administrator Brock Long said is causing the agency to “[gear] up for the next couple years.” The American Red Cross is a major recipient of corporate donations for storm relief, but a number of other groups have also mobilized to help victims of Tropical Storm Harvey…


The Story Behind the Photo of a Texas Cop Carrying 2 Kids Through Waist-Deep Water

Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Johnson was helping Texans in need of rescue from heavy flooding Sunday when a colleague snapped a photo of him carrying a small child in each of his arms. The image, taken as Tropical Storm Harvey slammed into the Houston area, has since gone viral on social media…


The Houston Hospital Running Out of Food

In Houston, Ben Taub Hospital is surrounded by murky water. On Sunday, the hospital prepared to evacuate some of its 350 patients, most of whom are low-income, but it had to abandon those plans because water levels rose too high. No transfers had been made as of Monday morning. Now, the hospital is running out of food, and ambulances are still unable to make their way through the flooded streets…


‘Need help’: Harvey victims use social media when 911 fails

Desperate for help and unsure whether traditional rescue efforts will come through, Harvey victims are using social media to share maps of their location and photos of themselves trapped on rooftops and inside buildings. “Need help in NE Houston! Baby here and sick elderly!” one user posted on Twitter along with her address late Sunday. Another woman, Alondra Molina, posted Monday on Facebook that her sister was desperate for a rescue for herself and her four children, including a 1-year-old. “Please if someone could at least get them out of the city me and my mom will come get them,” Molina wrote on a Facebook group where dozens were pleading for help. “The roads are just all blocked and we can’t get in.” Annette Fuller took a video when she began fearing for her life on Sunday. She was on the second floor of a neighbor’s home along with the residents of three other houses, including five children, as water rose and hit waist level on the first floor. “We called 911 and it rang and rang and rang and rang,” Fuller said Monday after the water receded and she managed to return safely to her single-story home. “There’s just no agency in the world that could handle Harvey,” she said. “However, none of us were warned that 911 might not work. It was very frightening.” Fuller’s two daughters, who live in Austin and Dallas, posted her video to Facebook after their mother texted it to them, and the post went viral. “Social media, in some ways, is more powerful than the…


Why evacuating major cities before a hurricane can be deadly

Hurricane Harvey has dumped several feet of rain on parts of Texas, leaving deadly floodwaters in its wake that are still rising. “We are anticipating over 30,000 people being placed in shelters temporarily,” Brock Long, who leads the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in a statement Monday morning. “We are expecting over 450,000 potential registers of disaster victims. That is a huge number.” Harris County, Texas, is one of the hardest hit so far. The region is home to some 2.3 million people in Houston, plus about 4.2 million others in the surrounding area. Footage of people stuck on rooftops without food, water, shelter, or signs of rescue begs the question: Why weren’t mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders issued for the region ahead of the storm? “We always say, ‘run from water, hide from wind.’ When we say that, we mean storm surge, not rain,” Harris County Judge Edward Emmett told reporters during a press conference on Friday. “In this case we’ll have a lot of water, but…


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