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America wraps its wounds hard, a week after Harvey

Ⓒ GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP – WIN MCNAMEE – | Chris Gaspard comes out of furniture damaged by the
flooding of his friend Bryan Parson’s house on the 1st of 2017 in
Dickinson, Texas

One week after Hurricane Harvey struck, millions of people
in the southern United States were struggling to resume their
lives in neighborhoods turned into islands, plagued by supply
difficulties, cuts current and paralysis of transport.

For tens of thousands of inhabitants, sheltered in emergency
reception centers, any return home was still unimaginable,
given the slow recession.

The others were confronted with the challenges of finding
their abandoned house for several days, when muddy water rose
to the level of the windows, or even above. The cars, so
crucial in America, were often good for breaking, after being
drowned up to the roof.

By returning to his home in Port Arthur on Friday, Tobias
James found the two sedans parked in his garage completely
flooded, including a brand new Dodge.

“The insurance of one of my two cars expired a few days
ago,” he lamented, while consoling himself to know all his
living relatives.

Ⓒ AFP – MARK RALSTON – | A rescuer volunteer Matt Clarke is looking for
residents in an evacuated area near Barker’s reservoir in
Houston, Texas on August 31, 2017

The 37-year-old man, employed in a refinery, confided that
he was not ready to forget his evacuation by helicopter: “First
time in my life that I was flying in the air, I have never been
so high.”

Its surrounding neighbors were busy clearing the debris
strewn across the streets. Vehicles were swept into drainage
ditches, a pickup truck was thrown under a road bridge.

The authorities continued to monitor closely a chemical
plant of the French group Arkema, where hazardous products,
which were no longer refrigerated, were consumed Thursday by
releasing harmful fumes. New fire starts were still
possible.

– The return baseball –

“We continue to hear detonations caused by the decomposition
of peroxides,” Rachel Moreno, spokesperson for local
firefighters, told AFP in reference to these highly flammable
materials used in the composition of plastics.

Plant officials on Friday defended their decision to keep
the peroxide on the spot saying that trying to hurry out the
containers would have been too risky.

Ⓒ AFP – Gal ROMA – | Floods in Texas and Louisiana

In Rockport, southwest of the Houston metropolis, schools
remained closed, electricity cut off, leaning houses were
promised to be destroyed. Others were no more than a heap of
debris.

In the port city where the hurricane hit land on Friday,
electric poles were blown to the ground, a Baptist church had
lost its roof. The damage inside the houses was
spectacular.

US Vice President Mike Pence traveled on Thursday. He
promised the victims that they would not be forgotten.

At the other end of the spectrum, in Houston, there were
signs of a return to normal life: recovery of electricity,
resumption of transit systems, extensive clean-up
operations.

The local baseball team, the Houston Astros, announced that
it would be well operational in the city for its professional
matches scheduled on Saturday and Sunday against the New York
Mets.

“It’s going to be moving,” predicted Astros coach AJ Hinch.
“You can not imagine the importance of being at home before
being forbidden to return home”.

– Overflowing basins –

“Texas is rapidly recovering thanks to
all the remarkable men and women who have worked so hard, but
so much remains to be done,” said Donald Trump on Friday.

The president will visit the scene on Saturday, this time to
meet Harvey’s victims.

The White House will call on Congress to release
approximately $ 5.9 billion in emergency funding to help the
victims of Harvey Storm.

Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, on Friday called
residents of flooded neighborhoods near two reservoirs to leave
this area that could remain two weeks under water.

A handful of residents of 15,000 and 20,000 houses built
near the reservoirs of Addicks and Barker refuse to follow
calls to evacuate, even if the area is submerged by the
releases of water from overflowing retention ponds.

Harvey storm has caused at least 42 deaths, but the record
could rise, with rescuers fearing the discovery of new
victims.

Those of the Federal Agency for Emergencies (FEMA) said on
Friday they rescued more than 4,500 disaster victims and 200
pets.

– Irma, new hurricane –

The return to normal will take years, warned Friday Greg
Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas.

“People need to understand that this is not a short-term
project. It’s going to be a program over the years so that
Texas can emerge from this disaster,” the elected official
warned.

Material damage could reach between $ 30 billion and $ 100
billion and, according to the White House, 100,000 households
have been affected by the disaster.

And a new cause for concern lay in the distant horizon, with
the presence in the Atlantic of a new hurricane, Irma, heading
for the Caribbean.

With winds of 175 km / h, Irma should “retain its strength
for several days,” said the US agency specializing in hurricane
tracking.

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