QUOTE OF THE DAY
“My heart goes out to my hometown, Houston, and I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help.”
—Beyoncé in a statement to the Houston Chronicle on Monday. The singer added that she is working with her charity, BeyGOOD, and her Houston-based pastor to formulate a plan to help “as many as we can” in her hometown after Hurricane Harvey swept through.
Trump Takes Texas
After postponing a visit to avoid “causing disruption,” President Donald Trump is traveling to Texas on Tuesday to assess the federal recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, according to NPR. Trump will skip Houston, where flood waters continue to rise, and travel with the first lady to Corpus Christi, where the hurricane made landfall on Friday. After visiting with relief groups, Trump will head to Austin to tour the Emergency Operations Center and receive a briefing from state leaders, according to the Texas Tribune. “We see neighbor helping neighbor, friend helping friend and stranger helping stranger,” Trump said at a press conference on Monday. “We are one American family. We hurt together, we struggle together and believe me, we endure together.” Trump also praised the leadership of Governor Greg Abbott, who is expected to join the president during his Texas trip. As the Guardian and multiple other media outlets have noted, this trip will be a major a test in Trump’s presidency. “Few events clarify a president’s effectiveness like a major natural disaster—and for Trump, the stakes are high following a tumultuous summer marked by a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, an escalating war of words with North Korea and multiple staff upheavals,” the Guardian‘s Lauren Gambino wrote. Trump actively monitored the Hurricane Harvey’s path on Twitter over the weekend, but was criticized for announcing the pardon of controversial former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio just as Harvey hit on Friday evening. Although some believed it was a tactical move, the president denied any efforts to bury the news. At Monday’s press conference, he said that he “assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally” because of Hurricane Harvey.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
As flood waters continue to rise in Houston, so does Hurricane Harvey’s death toll, but it’s unclear exactly how many have perished. Texas officials told the Washington Post on Monday that nine people have died. Meanwhile, the Austin American-Statesman and Fox News put the total at fourteen, and ABC news reports that seven have died. Although the official count remains unclear, there is consensus that the single deadliest incident occurred on Sunday afternoon, when a family of six drowned after their van hit high water in Houston. The driver of the van, Samuel Saldivar, was able to escape after the van was swept into the current of the rising Greens Bayou, but four children and their great-grandparents were still in the van when it sank. As of Monday night, the bodies of the elderly couple, aged 84 and 81, and the four children, ranging between six- and sixteen-years old, have not been recovered.
Shelter From the Storm
KHOU’s Mia Gradney reported early Tuesday that Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center is sheltering nearly 9,000 people displaced by Hurricane Harvey, taking in nearly 1,600 people in a matter of two hours. KHOU reported that the convention center’s original capacity for evacuees was set at 5,000, but with 9,000 people and counting, no one was being turned away. The Red Cross told the station that though they were still accepting evacuees, there is no guarantee that everyone will be have a cot to sleep on, and incoming supplies were delayed by flooding. After registering at the center, evacuees receive towels, dry clothes, blankets, and meals. The Red Cross is still seeking volunteers and donations, and encourages bringing any donations—cots, blankets, and towels, specifically—directly to the convention center if conditions are safe.
As their home field sits amid flood waters, the Houston Astros will take on the Texas Rangers at the Tampa Bay Ray’s Tropicana Field on Tuesday, according to CBS Sports. Major League Baseball made the announcement on Monday that the two Texas teams would relocate their upcoming series to Florida, prompting questions about why the games didn’t move to the Rangers’ Arlington ballpark. But the answer from the various camps is a bit of a he-said-he-said situation. “We went to the Rangers and said, ‘Hey let’s switch series. You guys have our home series,'” Astros President Reid Ryan told Houston reporters. “‘We’ll take your home series.’ They rejected that and didn’t want to do that. The Rangers wanted us to play the next three days at their place, but they did not want to trade series with us. They wanted all six of our games at their park.” According to ESPN, the Rangers offered to play this week’s series in Arlington and provide revenue to the Astros, but that the Rangers didn’t want to switch series out of concerns for ticket holders. The first game of the series is on Tuesday evening.
WHAT WE’RE READING
The complications of evacuating a city Wired
On climate change and Hurricane Harvey The Washington Post
How an executive order signed weeks before Harvey made infrastructure less flood-proof Quartz
Gators, snakes, and ants displaced by Harvey Austin American-Statesman