Sept. 5 (UPI) — The Hurricane Harvey death toll has risen to more than 60 people, as cleanup efforts and disaster relief attempts continue to progress in southeast Texas.
Many Houston residents who had been in shelters for the past week are beginning to come out to assess the damage and chart their way forward. FEMA-funded hotels provided sanctuary for up to 53,000 Texans as of Monday, while many have chosen to move in with relatives or other public housing complexes.
Although some may return to find their houses intact, many others will return to find their that their homes are virtually swimming pools. Up to 7,000 have already been completely destroyed, with another 37,000 damaged due to flooding.
Officials say it could take months for water levels to fully decrease.
Harris County has seen the majority of the deaths in Texas so far and had the greatest flood levels — 30 people have died there alone.
Among the Harvey-related deaths in the county, a family of six drowned in a van as they attempted to drive to safety.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed Houston is “open-for-business,” but experts say it will likely take a while before the city returns to normal.