A MAN who moved away from the Newtown area to Houston Texas was caught in what is thought to be the most damaging natural disaster in America’s recorded history.
Hurricane Harvey battered Eastern Texas, making landfall on August 25 and dissipating on September 2.
On August 26 the Category Four hurricane officially reached Houston, where it remained for four days
Almost 40,000 people were forced to leave their homes and currently the storm is known to have claimed more than 60 lives, a figure that continues to grow.
Ashley Williams, originally from Montgomeryshire and well known for playing for both Carno and Abermule Football Clubs, moved out to Texas almost five years ago.
Mr Williams said: “Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston.
“It dumped about two feet of rain along the Texas coast and could double. Estimated costs are $40 billion in damages.
“We are lucky that no flooding has taken place in our house. One mile away houses are underwater and only accessible via boats.”
By September 1, around a third of the Houston area was submerged, across Texas 185,000 homes have been recorded by the Texas Department of Public Safety as damaged and almost 10,000 destroyed.
Mr Williams, along with thousands of his American neighbours, are pitching in to help each other and pick up the pieces after more than a metre of rain fell in four days.
“We are currently helping out in setting up local shelters for families who have lost their homes in the flood,” he added.
“Providing food and beds in local colleges and churches.
“We found out from social media that a Welsh couple traveling were stuck and stranded at a hotel down town.
“They were picked up and are now staying with us for the next few weeks until their flight is rescheduled.
“We have all been called to serve in some way to help. It doesn’t matter your religion, if you’re black or white. We are a community and are showing love first.
“Houston is sticking together and already at work providing and helping the community.”
On September 4, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted a request by Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s for Community Disaster Loan assistance in areas of Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Governor Abbott said: “Federal, state, and local officials are working around the clock to respond to this disaster and ensure the safety of all those in the storm’s path.”
Mr Williams added: “The water has gone down. But currently in some areas the water is still flooding homes. This is due to the dam still letting water out.
“There are thousands of volunteers here helping from donating baby food, cleaning equipment and also knocking down plaster boards in the homes which flooded.
“The church currently has volunteers flying in from different organisations to help assist Houston who’ll will be living in the church during this time.”
Total economic losses are estimated to be more than $100 billion.
See full story in the County Times