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Thursday 28 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
'I was just really concerned for my kids': Irishman in Texas evacuated from house in boat
The full horrors of the monster storm Hurricane Harvey began emerging today.

AN IRISHMAN LIVING in Texas has spoken about being rescued from his home in a boat following widespread flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Speaking earlier today on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Dubliner Seán O’Loughlin – who has lived near Houston for 15 years – said floodwaters were creeping up the walls of his home before he and his family were rescued.

He said that the water had gone up to about two feet inside his home by Sunday night.

O’Loughlin lives with his wife and three children and he said they made the decision to call for assistance when the water got passed a certain point in their home.

“We did think about toughing it out until I saw the filthy dirty water and thought it really wasn’t worth taking a chance,” he said.

We probably would have been fine, and actually now that I know the water is already going down we would have been fine, but I just didn’t want to take the risk.

His wife took a video of them leaving the home, which shows widespread flooding in the area.

(You can view the video here)

“I never really felt that my life was threatened, especially because the water hadn’t come up that high, but I was just really concerned for my kids,” O’Loughlin said.

The family is now staying safely with friends.

Hurricane Harvey Lee Celano / The Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK Residents make their way to higher ground from flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Lee Celano / The Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK / The Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK

Death toll mounts

The full horrors of the monster storm began emerging today as the bodies of six family members were plucked from floodwaters in Texas and heavy rains pounded Louisiana.

While clouds parted in Houston, bringing welcome respite to a city where roads have become rivers, rural areas of Texas were drenched as Harvey headed eastwards.

Authorities in neighboring Louisiana meanwhile raced to safeguard their state from the impact of Harvey whose onslaught has evoked painful memories of Hurricane Katrina’s deadly strike 12 years ago.

Taking advantage of a lull in the rainfall in Houston, rescuers recovered the bodies of six family members from a van which was swept away by the floods over the weekend.

Manuel and Belia Saldivar and four of their great-grandchildren ranging from six to 16 years in age went missing Sunday as they were attempting to escape rising waters.

“We have a total confirmed six dead here at the scene inside this van,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told a press conference.

Our worst fears have been realised.

So far around 30 people are believed to have been killed in the storm, but with hundreds are still unaccounted for, there is little doubt the final toll will rise further – although officials stress many may simply have no access to phones or power.

Hurricane Harvey SIPA USA / PA Images Families and pets are transported to higher ground as residents respond to rescue flood victims of Hurricane Harvey. SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

Trump speech

“To those Americans who have lost loved ones, all of America is grieving with you, and our hearts are joined with yours forever,” President Donald Trump said in a speech, a day after viewing some of the damage for himself on a trip to Texas.

“The citizens of Texas and the Gulf Coast need all the prayers, support, and resources our communities have to offer.”

More than 30,000 people have found refuge in shelters across the Lone Star State, from the giant Houston convention center to small churches, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Brock Long.

“We are in this for the long haul,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said at a briefing on emergency operations.

We’ll continue to support the people of Texas as long as necessary.

© AFP 2017 With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald

Read: Trump visits disaster zone battered by Hurricane Harvey

Read: Trump visits disaster zone battered by Hurricane Harvey

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