Humanitarian crisis in Houston as thousands cram into local shelters

World Today

Austin De La Cruz of Houston, Texas, organizes donations at a drop off point in North Dallas, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. De La Cruz, who evacuated from Houston last Thursday as Harvey grew in strength is staying with friends and said he just had to help somehow. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The largest shelter in downtown Houston is overflowing. The Red Cross was ready for 5,000 evacuees at the convention center. More than 9,000 showed up. And, the flow of people has not stopped.

CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports.

Half of them are sleeping on the cold floor. All stranded in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, which dumped more than a meter and a quarter in some parts of the region.

These flood victims share one common thread. They have nothing left.

“I just lost everything and have to start again. So, now I got all my stuff in that bag,” displaced Houston resident Ismael Franco said.

Ismael was recovering from a surgery when his apartment was flooded.

One mother of three made it out just in time.

“We had to evacuate actually yesterday, but we watched as the water came up, and I didn’t think it was going to rise as much as it did but it actually did.” flood victim Stephanie Baham said. “It didn’t go inside my apartment yet. It went actually inside the first apartment. there’s two sections, first section, three babies also lost their lives…they were trying to get out,” Baham continued.

With bridges and roads washed away, more than 17,000 people sought refuge in shelters in the state of Texas.

“At no point is the city out of shelter space, and we are able to handle that. In the meantime, we are also setting up another shelter close to here that should be open by this afternoon to help relieve pressure from this facility,” Director of Houston Housing and Community Development Tom McCasland said.

Authorities predict that thousands more people will be displaced in the coming days. And with some Houston dams already overflowing, the situation becomes more dire by the hour.