Flood victims have started returning to their homes in Texas to face the complete devastation inflicted upon them by Hurricane Harvey.
Families forced to flee when the storm struck are now going back for the first time to find their homes still flooded and their belongings completely destroyed as they start the heartbreaking clean up.
Maribel Garcia had to take a boat to back to her Crosby home – 20 miles north-east of Houston – on Wednesday and broke down in tears when she found it was still engulfed in water.
‘I don’t have the words,’ a tearful Garcia told CBS as she stood in the living room of her damaged home.
Maribel Garcia broke down in tears on Wednesday when she found her Crosby home – 20 miles north-east of Houston – was still engulfed in water
Garcia and her family had to return to their via a boat given the floodwaters and were only able to salvage enough clothes for the next few days
Mike Stamps stands in his home on Wednesday in Kingswood after it was flooded by the nearby San Jacinto River
About 42 miles away in Dickinson, Chris Rhoads (above) lost everything because he was out helping others and didn’t have time to save anything of his own. He was the only one with a boat in his area and was busy rescuing people trapped on their roofs
‘My kids want to come back home, but…
‘I just feel overwhelmed, you know, helpless. I don’t know what to do right now.’
About 42 miles away in Dickinson, floodwaters had mostly receded by Thursday allowing residents to go through their homes and pile high their destroyed belongings by the curb.
Chris Rhoads lost everything because he was out helping others and didn’t have time to save anything of his own. He was the only person around with a boat to help rescue his trapped neighbors.
‘When I left, the water was barely getting into the house. When I came back, it was waist-high,’ Rhoads told NBC.
‘I was the only boat.
Pete Schroeter grabs a trash can falling out of his garage as he opens the door for the first time on Thursday after his house was surrounded by Harvey floodwaters in north western Houston
Michael Saghian carries a roll of bubble wrap and a box of sandwiches for workers helping to remove items damaged by floodwaters from his Houston home on Wednesday
Zamir Navarro reacts after seeing her neighborhood for the first time on Thursday since fleeing when Harvey struck
Zamir Navarro is hugged by her neighbor after returning to her home in Harvey floodwaters in north western Houston
Barry Horvitz embraces his wife Kim while standing outside their Houston home after removing items damaged by floodwaters
Felix Tijerina works to salvage items from his family’s home that was destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Rockport
Ngoc Nguyen pushes a box of water damaged supplies from the Willis Tailor and Alterations store she runs in Dickinson
A man cleans his belongings on Wednesday after floodwaters receded during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston
Jose Martinez removes drywall from a home in Houston on Wednesday
‘You drive down and everybody’s sitting on their roofs. Everybody’s needing help, and you’re trying. You know, these people are on oxygen, and you’re trying to get to a certain person, but you’re passing 200 people to get to them.’
Other families across Texas are already ripping up their damaged floorboards and getting to work cleaning their soaked belongings, trying to salvage whatever they can.
Thousands of home in Houston and other close neighborhoods remain under water and could stay that way for days, or even weeks.
In the suburb of Meyerland, hundreds of families were emptying their now foul-smelling homes on Thursday as temperatures climbed into the 90s.
They were pictured piling up couches, drywall and carpets from their homes where floodwaters had lingered for well over 24 hours.
Anita Williams, 52, was among dozens of people lined up Thursday morning at a shelter at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center to register for FEMA aid. She said she had returned to her neighborhood on Wednesday to survey the damage to her one-story house.
‘It’s not my house anymore. My deep freezer was in my living room,’ she said, her voice breaking.
Michael and Laura Gill threw out their soaked carpet in Baytown on Wednesday after their home completed flooded during the storms
Ngan Nguyen tries to salvage what he can from the Willis Tailor and Alterations store he runs in Dickinson
A man tore out carpet from a home in Houston on Wednesday after floodwaters receded
A man carries his belongings in a cardboard box from a flooded neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston
Brian Anderson rips out flooded carpet at a home in Friendswood (left), while high school student Payton Montemayor sweeps water out (right)
Joseph Robinson walks through the remains of the juice bar that he planned to open at the Pine Drive Professionals retail center in Dickinson
Donnie Guillory removes wood floors to begin the cleanup process after rising floodwater him to flee his home in Friendswood
Michael Saghian walks across the living room of his home in Houston after tearing up some of his damaged floorboards
People tear out carpet from a flood damaged home after floodwaters receded in Houston
Moody’s Analytics estimated the economic cost from Harvey for southeast Texas at $51 billion to $75 billion, ranking it among the costliest storms in US history.
At least $23 billion worth of property has been affected by flooding from Harvey just in parts of Texas’ Harris and Galveston counties, a Reuters analysis of satellite imagery and property data showed.
The death toll from the storm continues to rise with Texan fire fighters now going door-to-door in a grim search for survivors and victims.
Flood waters have receded enough in Houston for the recovery mission to begin, six days after the hurricane first made landfall, and there are increasing sightings of bodies floating in the flood water in Beaumont.
The official death toll across the entire Gulf Coast region is currently 38 but it is likely to become exponentially higher as the bodies of the dead are recovered.
The storm has drawn comparisons to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people in New Orleans, and 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, which killed 132 around New York and New Jersey.