Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Many pause to pray amid Harvey recovery efforts

Published:Monday | September 4, 2017 | 12:00 AM
People wade through chest-deep water down Pine Cliff Drive as Addicks Reservoir nears capacity due to near-constant rain from Tropical Storm Harvey on Tuesday, August 29, in Houston.

HOUSTON (AP):

Worshippers and relief workers yesterday paused from their chores across South Texas to seek God's favour as the area rebuilds.

Hurricane Harvey hit the region with high winds on August 25 and then dumped more than four feet of rain in the Houston area days later. While the Gulf Coast suffers in miserable conditions from Corpus Christi, Texas, northward into Louisiana, the theme in many sermons Sunday was that God is greater.

The St Joseph Catholic Church in Port Aransas hasn't had power since the storm but set out holy water and bug spray for parishioners before services Sunday morning. Many anointed themselves with both.

A less-formal group met and prayed outside a relief station on the beach town's main road.

Authorities in the Houston enclave of Bellaire say people who have suffered losses from Harvey are complaining about scavengers descending on their neighbourhoods, picking through flood-damaged items piled up in front of their homes.

Police Chief Byron Holloway asked residents drying items they hope to salvage to not place them by debris intended for trash and to put them instead closer to their homes.

Bellaire officials are working with contractors to develop a debris pickup schedule.

Houston city spokesman Kese Smith says officials believe about 300 residents have not heeded Mayor Sylvester Turner's mandatory evacuation order for a West Houston area being flooded by releases from two swollen reservoirs.

Center Point Energy crews have started going door to door to check homes and advise people still left behind in flooded homes that their power is being turned off. He says people in homes that have taken no water will not have their electricity cut off.

Water from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs is emptying into Buffalo Bayou, which, in turn, is flooding the neighbourhoods it borders. Army Corps of Engineers officials say the release is necessary to ease pressure on the reservoirs from rain dumped by Harvey and create space in case it rains again soon.