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Tropical Storm Harvey: 200 Indian students marooned at University of Houston, says Sushma Swaraj

Sushma Swaraj informed that two Indian students Shalini and Nikhil Bhatia are admitted in the ICU and the government was trying to arrange for their relatives to reach there

Edited by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [Published on:28 Aug 2017, 4:49 PM IST]
A man walks in heavy rain in Houston, Texas on Aug 27
A man walks in heavy rain in Houston, Texas on Aug 27 Photo:AP

At least 200 Indian students at the University of Houston are marooned and surrounded by neck-deep water as tropical storm Harvey sent devastating floods pouring into the Texas metropolis on Sunday, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj informed on Monday. Houston and south-east Texas have been inundated by around 30 inches (76cm) of rain in some counties in the past 72 hours including record amounts in the last 24 hours.

In a series of tweets today, Swaraj further informed that two Indian students Shalini and Nikhil Bhatia are admitted in the ICU and the government was trying to arrange for their relatives to reach there. “Indian students Shalini and Nikhil Bhatia are in ICU. We are ensuring that their relatives reach there at the earliest,” the minister said.

“Consul General Houston has informed me that 200 Indian students at University of Houston are marooned. They are surrounded by neck deep water,” she said.

The minister further said that there were attempts made by the Consulate General of India to deliver food but was not allowed by the US Coast Guard. “We made efforts for delivery of food but US Coast Guard did not allow as boats were required for rescue operations,” she said, adding that Consul General, Houston, Anupam Ray was organising the rescue operations.

At least two people have been killed in the floods and tens of thousands have been forced from their homes, reports said. The authorities have ordered more than 50,000 people to leave parts of Fort Bend County, about 35 miles (55 km) southwest of Houston as the Brazos River is set to to peak at a record high of 59 feet (18 m) this week, 14 feet above its flood stage.

On Sunday, incessant rain covered much of Houston in turbid, gray-green water and turned streets into rivers navigable only by boat. In a rescue effort that recalled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, helicopters landed near flooded freeways, airboats buzzed across submerged neighborhoods and high-water vehicles plowed through water-logged intersections. Some people managed with kayaks or canoes or swam.

Associated Press reported that the storm has so far affected about a quarter of the Texas population, or 6.8 million people in 18 counties, judging from federal disaster declarations.

Average rainfall totals will end up around 40 inches (1 meter) for Houston, the AP report cited weather service meteorologist Patrick Burke as saying.

The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, predicted that the aftermath of the storm would require FEMA’s involvement for years, it said. “This disaster’s going to be a landmark event,” Long said.

(With AP inputs)