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Hurricane Harvey: Indian student’s condition remains critical

Shalini, the Indian student, continues to be under treatment at the local hospital of Texas A&M university, with her family by her side.

world Updated: Sep 02, 2017 00:05 IST
Yashwant Raj
An Airman assigned to the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue wing surveys the flood waters engulfing Houston, Texas during rescue operations.
An Airman assigned to the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue wing surveys the flood waters engulfing Houston, Texas during rescue operations.(AFP)

The condition of the Indian student who drowned in surging flood waters last week in Texas remained critical as the toll across the state went up to 46 in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Harvey.

Search and rescue efforts continued for survivors as thousands of people remained cut off from their inundated homes in emergency shelters.

Shalini, the Indian student, continues to be under treatment at the local hospital of Texas A&M university, with her family by her side.

The family of Nikhil Bhatia, a student of the same university who was declared dead earlier, planned to cremate him on Friday, according to Indian mission officials.

All Indians and Americans of Indian descent who had reached out to the Indian mission in Houston remained safe and accounted for even as some remained in areas flooded by discharge from overflowing reservoirs, such as in the affluent cities Katy and Sugar Land, within the larger Houston area.

Harvey, which made landfall as a category 4 hurricane last Friday, is likely to be one of the costliest storms in US history. It impacted 100,000 homes , affecting 100,000 homes and sending more than 30,000 people to emergency shelters around the state.

There is a new danger facing survivors — from a series of explosions at a flood-damaged chemical factory outside Houston on Thursday. More blasts are feared at the plant, owned by a French company Arkema, bringing the safety regulations under scrutiny.

The relief and rehabilitation efforts are going to last long and be expensive. The Washington Post reported Friday that President Donald Trump and congressional leaders are discussing a plan to earmark $6 billion. The federal recovery package for Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was $60 billion and governor Greg Abbott has suggested Texas might require upwards of $100 billion. He said it “is going to be a multi-year project for Texas to be able to dig out of this catastrophe.”

The president himself has volunteered a personal contribution of $1 million. “He would like to join in the efforts that a lot of the people we’ve seen across this country do, and he’s pledging $1 million of personal money to the fund,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sander told reporters.

Several celebrities have offered personal contributions and many companies are collecting donations to help in the rehabilitation and relief work.

Google, for instance, has offered to match donations up to $1 million. “Our thoughts are with the victims of #HurricaneHarvey - please help support the relief effort if you can,” wrote CEO Sundar Pichai on Twitter.

Residents of the region were embarking on the long path toward recovery on Friday. (With inputs from agencies)