WELSH EX-PAT HELPS TWO STRANDED IN TEXAS FLOODS

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - JES­SICA WAL­FORD Re­porter jes­sica.wal­ford@waleson­line.co.uk

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

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