Hurricane Beryl hammers Houston, brings life to standstill

author-image
NewsDrum Desk
New Update

Houston, Jul 10 (PTI) Hurricane Beryl has plunged Houston into a state of turmoil, with widespread power outages, impassable streets and a community grappling with the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster.

With no power, phone connections, gas to run cars, cancelled flights and scorching heat, Houston, the fourth-largest city of the United States, has come to a standstill. More than 20 lakh homes and businesses are in the dark, battling sweltering temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with no relief from air-conditioning or fans.

CenterPoint Energy is in a race against time, aiming to restore power to 10 lakh customers by the end of the day (July 10), a feat amid downed lines and extensive damage.

Schools and businesses remain shuttered, unable to operate amid the power outage and widespread damage. Streets are flooded, trees lie scattered and leaky roofs add to the city's woes, creating scenes reminiscent of a disaster movie.

Mobile and internet services are spotty at best, complicating communication and making it difficult for residents to reach out for help or stay informed.

Acting Governor Dan Patrick spoke with President Joe Biden on the phone on Tuesday to request the declaration that will help speed up the recovery process with financial aid. Biden declared a federal disaster for half of Texas' counties to aid in storm recovery efforts, but signs of fuel shortages and disrupted services persist.

The declaration will help cover Beryl recovery expenses for cities, counties and the state, including the massive cost of clearing debris.

"The emergency declaration that Governor Patrick worked on with the president will grant 75 per cent reimbursement for debris cleanup, and that is for all 121 impacted counties," Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief W Nim Kidd said.

Amid the chaos, Houstonians display resilience, with community spirit shining through as neighbours help each other cope with the challenges of life without power.

Despite the usual summer heat, the combination of extreme weather and humidity, compounded by power shortages, poses severe health risks, with heat index values forecasted to reach up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

CenterPoint Energy, the main utility provider, is working to restore power, aiming to reach 10 lakh customers by end of the day (July 10). Residents are enduring sweltering conditions without air-conditioning, with frustrations mounting over recurrent power outages during storm seasons.

"Approximately 24 hours since it was safe to release crews into the field, we have restored power to more than 640,000 customers and are on track to have restored 1 million of the 2.26 million impacted customers by the end of the day tomorrow," the energy company posted on X.

"Our transmission teams have been working around-the-clock since Hurricane Beryl's destructive winds caused widespread damage in Jamaica Beach to restore power to hundreds in the area." The storm's impact includes flooded streets, downed trees, leaking roofs and significant property damage, leading to several fatalities. Local infrastructure, including internet and mobile services, has also been affected, compounding challenges for residents trying to navigate the aftermath. Residents express frustration, helplessness and exhaustion with recurring power outages and the ensuing hardships. PTI SHK RC

Subscribe