Far from home

Home was safe, but oth­ers not so lucky

The Pilot - - Front Page - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY danette@nl.rogers.com

Lewisporte na­tive Chris­tine Martin was home for a hol­i­day re­cently, but her thoughts were with friends and neigh­bours back in Texas as they bat­tled flood wa­ters.

Chris­tine Martin of Lewisporte was head­ing back to Texas on Sun­day, re­lieved that her home hasn’t been da­m­aged and ea­ger to help those who were af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

“It’s so hard watch­ing it all up here and not be­ing able to do any­thing to help,” Martin said dur­ing a phone in­ter­view from Lewisporte on Thurs­day, Aug. 31. “When I get back I’ll see what I can do­nate and if I can vol­un­teer some­where to help.”

The strong­est hur­ri­cane to hit the United States in over a decade, at least 37 peo­ple have died in the dis­as­ter, while thou­sands of oth­ers have been dis­placed from their homes.

Martin lives in Katy — a city west of Hous­ton. She came home to Lewisporte on a planned va­ca­tion Aug. 19.

Martin was home al­most a week when dis­as­trous flood­ing hit Hous­ton.

She is thank­ful for her neigh­bour back in Texas, who did what he could to pre­pare the in­side of her home for any floods that might oc­cur in her com­mu­nity.

“He lifted all my things off the floor and put it on beds and on ta­bles,” she said.

When res­i­dents re­sponded to a vol­un­tary evac­u­a­tion, the same neigh­bour took his fam­ily and their cat — as well as Martin’s two cats — and left the area.

“They were es­ti­mat­ing 10 more inches of rain, which would mean the wa­ter would get a lot deeper. But they changed the es­ti­mate to only two inches,” she said. “So, they were only out (of their homes) for a night and re­turned the next day.”

Watch­ing the dev­as­ta­tion on the news and through so­cial me­dia has brought stress­ful days and sleep­less nights for Martin.

“When the hur­ri­cane was go­ing through, that whole night they had tor­nado warn­ings. And there were tor­na­dos, not in my com­mu­nity, but in the area in gen­eral,” she said.

While her home is safe, Martin said it’s heart­break­ing to hear sto­ries about her friends who haven’t been so for­tu­nate.

“One friend, she’s part of my book club, she had two cats on an air mat­tress,” she said. “Her and her fam­ily had to wade out in chest deep wa­ter to higher grounds to get res­cued.”

Her friend has since re­turned to her home and is now deal­ing with the dam­age caused by the floods.

“To­day, they were go­ing to try to rip out the carpets — it’s a big process when your house floods like that,” she said.

Martin is a grad­u­ate of Memo­rial Uni­ver­sity’s en­gi­neer­ing program. After com- plet­ing a work term in Hous­ton, she took a job there when she ob­tained her de­gree in 2002. She’s been liv­ing there ever since.

“I’ve been liv­ing in my cur­rent house 12 years,” she said.

On Aug. 30, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­tre is­sued an ad­vi­sory that cat­a­strophic and life-threat­en­ing flood­ing con­tin­ues in south­east­ern Texas and por­tions of south­west­ern Louisiana.

When asked how peo­ple can help those im­pacted by the hur­ri­cane, Martin sug­gested peo­ple pray for those who will be work­ing hard to get their lives back to nor­mal.

That’s go­ing to take time, she said. Es­ti­mates are that it will take years for Hous­ton to recover from the dis­as­ter.

“A lot of peo­ple still have their homes flooded. They will be months try­ing to recover. And it’s not over yet,” Martin said.

Mon­e­tary dona­tions can also be made through the Cana­dian Red Cross (www. red­cross.ca).

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Chris­tine Martin, orig­i­nally from Lewisporte, lives in Katy — a city west of Hous­ton, Texas. She came home to Lewisporte on a planned va­ca­tion Aug. 19 and has been in touch with friends and neigh­bours im­pacted by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Although her home in Texas is safe, Chris­tine Martin, home for a visit to Lewisporte, says it’s heart­break­ing to hear sto­ries about friends who weren’t so lucky.

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