WELSH EX-PAT HELPS TWO STRANDED IN TEXAS FLOODS
ATEACHER who used to live in Wales but now lives in Houston, Texas, has spoken about the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and described how he came to the help of two tourists who are trying to get home to Wales.
Ashley Williams, 29, who moved to Texas five years ago and now teaches elementary school children in the city, has been doing as much as he can along with his wife Jessica, 27, to help people whose lives have been affected.
This included providing a safe place to stay for the two tourists who he heard were stuck in Houston.
Ashley, who moved from Newtown in Powys, said: “I heard on social media that two girls were stuck in Houston. Somebody emailed from the hospital and asked if I could help. Their flight home to Wales had been cancelled for a week. They were trapped.”
Now he says Awel and Sarah, from Denbighshire and Leeds, are staying with the couple until they can get home safely.
It has been reported at least 39 people are known to have died and tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes and lost their possessions in the widespread floods which followed the heaviest tropical rainfall ever recorded in the continental US.
Ashley and Jessica’s home was left pretty much untouched but they’ve been spending their time helping friends and volunteering at a church acting as a hub for disaster relief efforts.
Ashley said: “I live in a suburb in Houston. Our garage is underneath [our house].
“Some of my friends had to evacuate by kayak to a boat and then to a car.”
Around 364,000 people have already sought federal emergency aid in the wake of the hurricane, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.
The storm initially made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Texas on August 25, before going back out to sea and becoming a tropical storm for days, flooding Texan cities including Houston before moving on to the neighbouring state of Louisiana.
Ashley said: “The hurricane was the worst thing.”
He added: “The skies are blue and the rain has stopped, but the aftermath is now.”
An aerial view of the flooding which has hit Houston, Texas, where teacher Ashley Williams now lives Ashley has joined others helping people hit by the floods A boat going through a housing estate to help with the rescue Ashley and Jessica building 100 beds at a shelter ready for families
Ashley and Jessica with Arwel and Sarah