Saturday, September 2, 2017

Into the Aftermath of the Storm

The news has provided almost non-stop coverage of the devastation associated with hurricane Harvey. 

I admit, I get a bit numb to the television coverage, yet this morning I read two stories that continued to bring home the incredible toll being exacted upon the residents the region and point to the years-long recovery efforts that are beginning to get underway even before the flood waters fully recede. 

One story was in the New York Times and depicts in multi-media style a drive from Houston to Beaumont, Texas, titles Town After town Under Water in the 100 Miles From Houston to Beaumont.

Scene from the Hurricane
The story provides some surface level video that shows in detail how bad it really is on the ground in the aftermath of the hurricane. 

The other story, in The Washington Post, is about what residents of small affordable luxury community are finding upon their return home. In a flooded Texas subdivision, the hard slog of rebuilding begins, is the title of the article. It contains a heart-wrenching story.

Residents said that almost all of the homes in Lynnwood, eventually, would be livable. Maybe the work would take weeks, or months. But there was one exception — the home that was closest to the bayou, the only home that was swallowed up to the roof, the home of the newest couple in the neighborhood. Now Angel Garzoria, 22, and Alexis Hernandez, 20, were parking their car and coming out to inspect the damage. They walked toward their house but couldn’t go in all the way because of the water. There it was, 100 yards away. Some 1,700 square feet. Purchased in March. Built in four months. Lived in since July. And now, half-submerged.

To save for that home, he’d worked 70-hour weeks at Exxon. She’d worked 50-hour weeks as a medical tech treating people with kidney problems. They had just enough money for a 5 percent down payment, a $6,000 porch, a $1,500 65-inch television. They’d bought a refrigerator, a barbecue pit, a foam mattress. They’d spent a little extra for a larger lot, a play area for the kids they planned on having.
“We spent a lot,” she said. 
“Everything,” he said. 
“A nightmare,” she said, and they’d left in such a hurry, even the most basic things — Garzoria’s Exxon employee ID, for instance — were still in the home, underwater.
She sat down on a folding chair looking out onto what was left of the neighborhood. Their house would be torn down. Their savings were drained. They’d have to move in with her parents. Nothing was happening as planned, and drying in the sunshine before her was a final mortgage document, sent days earlier in the mail, one more thing soaked by the flood. Their first payment was due Oct. 1.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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