Flood­wa­ters drop, bod­ies found

As storm moves on to Louisiana, Houston deals with af­ter­math

The Province - - NEWS / WORLD -

As Har­vey’s flood­wa­ters started drop­ping across much of the Houston area Wed­nes­day, the storm be­gan to give up its dead.

Au­thor­i­ties con­firmed the deaths of six mem­bers of the Sal­divar fam­ily — Manuel and Belia Sal­divar, both in their 80s, teenagers Devy and Do­minic, eight-year-old Xavier and sixyear-old Daisy — who were at­tempt­ing to flee a flash flood when the van they were rid­ing in was sub­merged in wa­ter, ac­cord­ing to Ric Sal­divar, who is one of the elder Sal­divars’ sons.

The group had piled into a van be­ing driven by Sammy Sal­divar, 56, one of Ric’s brothers, Satur­day.

As they ap­proached a bridge, Sammy saw it was cov­ered in wa­ter. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Ric Sal­divar, they kept driv­ing, be­cause the guardrails were still show­ing. But the road dipped sharply on the other side of the bridge, he said. Sud­denly, the van was float­ing and tak­ing on wa­ter. Sammy Sal­divar squeezed out of a win­dow and clung to a tree branch. No one else made it out of the van.

“He was yelling at the kids to climb out of the back of the van; I’m sure they couldn’t reach it,” said Ric, re­lay­ing the nar­ra­tive pro­vided to him by Sammy. “He could hear the kids scream­ing, but couldn’t push the doors open. That’s what he keeps hear­ing in his head. And the van just went un­der­wa­ter and was gone.”

On Satur­day, Alexan­der Sung, 64, was busy rac­ing around his clock re­pair store, lay­ing down news­pa­per and lift­ing the most valu­able time­pieces to the high­est shelves.

“Sweetie, I have to call you back!” he told his daugh­ter, Ali­cia Con­tr­eras.

Later she re­ceived a text. “I love you sweetie,” Sung as­sured his daugh­ter. “You guys are all I have.”

His body was re­cov­ered from his shop Sun­day.

In a rain-swollen canal in Beau­mont, Tex., au­thor­i­ties found a shiv­er­ing tod­dler cling­ing to the body of her drowned mother af­ter the woman tried to carry her child to safety.

Capt. Brad Penis­son of the fire-res­cue depart­ment in Beau­mont said the woman’s ve­hi­cle got stuck Tuesday in a flooded park­ing lot. Squalls from Har­vey were pound­ing Beau­mont with up to five cen­time­tres of rain an hour at the time with 60 km/h gusts.

Penis­son said a wit­ness saw the woman take her 18-month-old daugh­ter and try to walk to safety when the swift cur­rent of a flooded drainage canal swept them away.

The child was hold­ing onto the float­ing woman when a po­lice and fire-res­cue team in a boat caught up to them down­stream, he said. Res­cuers pulled them into the boat just be­fore they would have gone un­der a rail­road tres­tle. First re­spon­ders tried to re­vive the woman, but she never re­gained con­scious­ness.

Penis­son said the child was in sta­ble con­di­tion in hospi­tal.

While con­di­tions in Houston ap­peared to im­prove, the dis­as­ter took a turn for the worse near the Texas-Louisiana state line.

The Texas com­mu­ni­ties of Beau­mont and Port Arthur strug­gled with ris­ing flood­wa­ters and worked to evac­u­ate res­i­dents af­ter Har­vey rolled ashore early Wed­nes­day for the sec­ond time in six days, hit­ting south­west­ern Louisiana as a trop­i­cal storm.

For much of the Houston area, fore­cast­ers said the rain is pretty much over and the wa­ter is al­ready back within its chan­nels in some places.

Emer­gency au­thor­i­ties said more than 1,000 homes were de­stroyed and close to 50,000 dam­aged, and more than 32,000 peo­ple were in shel­ters.

Au­thor­i­ties ex­pect the death toll to rise. Har­ris County of­fi­cials are in­ves­ti­gat­ing 17 deaths — on top of an of­fi­cial death toll of 21 — to de­ter­mine whether they were storm-re­lated.

— GETTY IMAGES

The flood­wa­ters were re­ced­ing in Houston Wed­nes­day and res­cue work­ers and vol­un­teers were trav­el­ling in boats res­cu­ing res­i­dents trapped by the del­uge caused by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

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