Trump seeks $5.9B in Harvey relief as Texas begins cleanup

Flood waters brought on by Hurricane Harvey surround a highway near Houston, Texas on Thursday. Photo by Master Sgt. Jason Robertson/U.S. Air Force/UPI

Sept. 1 (UPI) — President Donald Trump‘s administration plans to ask Congress for nearly $6 billion in aid for damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

The White House is seeking congressional approval of a $5.95 billion package, a senior official told Axios. The Federal Emergency Management Agency would receive $5.5 billion, with the rest going to the Small Business Administration for disaster relief efforts through the end of the year.

Trump tweeted Friday, “Texas is healing fast thanks to all of the great men & women who have been working so hard. But still so much to do. Will be back tomorrow!”

Meanwhile, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city has dried out, as attention turns to recovery efforts.

Only two Houston neighborhoods, Kingwood and West Houston, were still dealing with flooding issues a week after Hurricane Harvey arrived.

Turner said the number of people in public shelters is declining. Those housed in the Toyota Center, Houston’s NBA arena, will be transferred to the city’s smaller convention center by the end of Friday.

“The Astros are playing baseball. The city of Houston is open for business,” Turner told ABC News.

Data indicate that the hurricane broke a rainfall record for a single storm in the continental United States. Cedar Bayou, 30 miles east of Houston, saw 52 inches of rain, a preliminary report by the National Weather Service said.

Houston’s two major airports reopened, with limited flights, and the zoo was expected to reopen Friday.

All 200 schools and facilities of the Houston Independent School District have been inspected and are expected to be ready for the postponed start of the school year on Sept. 11, Superintendent Richard Carranza said.

The ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston and Freeport reopened, with some restrictions on vessel size and traffic, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston announced.

The Houston Fire Department reported that of 800 service calls it received on Thursday, only 22 were Harvey-related. Since the start of the hurricane, the department received about 7,600 water-related calls, a spokesman said.

At least 40 deaths have been attributed to the hurricane and flooding, and the Houston Police Department said it has made 69 arrests — including several for suspected looting.

Professional cleanup crews are arriving, ready to tackle an immense logistical challenge.

ServPro, a national company providing fire and water cleanup and restoration services, announced that over 8,000 of its workers will arrive in Houston from across the United States. Another firm, Puroclean, said it purchased 100 recreational vehicles and will house its temporary workers in a Houston-area RV park. At least 136,000 buildings in Harris County, which houses Houston, are in need of cleanup.

Hurricane Harvey left Houston but made landfall again on Wednesday near Cameron, La. It weakened to a tropical depression and was regarded as a low-pressure system Friday as it brought heavy rain to the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys.


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