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Houston made the right decision not to evacuate

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Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey


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On Aug. 17, a tropical wave to the east of the Lesser Antilles developed a massive tropical storm, Hurricane Harvey. Harvey was recorded as a third category hurricane and the first major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season. On Aug. 24, Hurricane Harvey rapidly intensified and started to move northwest. It made landfall in Rockport, Texas at peak intensity. In addition to the large number of fatalities, there is a major crisis concerning the evacuation of the flooded areas, the economic fallout for the region, and the losses sustained by uninsured land owners.

There has been a huge debate about whether the citizens of Houston should have been evacuated or the decision made by Houston’s mayor Sylvester Turner to “stay put” was the right choice. While Houston has a well planned system for evacuation which covers all kinds of neighborhoods and counties, the criticism that the government received after the evacuation during Hurricane Rita led to the decision of not evacuating for Harvey. Luckily, they had learned their lessons from the evacuation during Hurricane Rita which resulted in more than 100 deaths. According to Turner, leaving homes and getting on the streets will be putting one’s life in more danger rather than simply staying put. Yet people have been rescued from their flooded houses completely trapped with no immediate aid, thus making the topic more arguable.

To put things in better perspective, the Labor Department announced on Thursday that state unemployment benefits have adjusted to the highest level since April 2015 due to the surge in applications in hurricane-ravaged Texas. As a reaction to this aftermath brought about by Harvey, many companies are pitching in to help. Furthermore, unadjusted claims for California, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Kansas, Wyoming and Virginia were estimated because of the Labor Day holiday on Monday. Harvey’s destruction appears to have infused Florida residents with a new sense of urgency as they prepare for the approaching Irma.

Harvey’s devastating floods have the hurricane ranked as the strongest Atlantic storm on record. Moreover, Hurricane Harvey is being compared to Hurricane Katrina at many stages. However, Katrina was one of the deadliest storms in the history of the U.S. The death toll was very high and does not match that of Harvey. Also, Katrina was the most costly storm with a wreckage of $160 billion, which compared to Harvey is $70 billion. While most of the damages brought on by Katrina were covered by standard home insurance policies, the same damages caused by Harvey are not being covered. Therefore, Houston might face worse consequences than Katrina. What really matters now is to come together as a community and focus solely on saving the lives of those affected by Harvey.

The decision not to evacuate was the lesser of two evils. Texans need to come together to prevail in this dire situation.

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Houston made the right decision not to evacuate