Convention Center Still Houses 1,000 Evacuees

HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Harvey and the storm’s aftermath (all times local):

4:17 p.m.

A public information officer from the city of Houston says about 1,000 hurricane evacuees remain at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Evangelina Vigil, a spokeswoman for the department of neighborhoods, gave The Associated Press the updated number Saturday afternoon.

At one time, there were about 10,000 evacuees in the mega-shelter.

The Red Cross said Saturday that a total of 37,000 people stayed in shelters on Friday night due to Harvey.

On Saturday, people still housed at the convention center lined up to file FEMA claims and took photos with Shasta, the University of Houston mascot, while others prayed with a Catholic priest.

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4:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump is visiting Lake Charles, Louisiana, as he tours areas ravaged by record-setting rainfalls and flooding from Harvey.

Trump, first lady Melania Trump and four Cabinet secretaries are joining him on his Saturday trip to Texas and Louisiana.

Earlier, Trump walked through a Houston shelter to meet with people displaced by Harvey. He also passed out food and relief supplies and stopped at a street that had until recently been under water.

Trump is expected to speak with emergency responders while in Louisiana before returning to Washington later Saturday.

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3:40 p.m.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he talked with President Donald Trump about the importance of adequate housing in post-Harvey life.

Speaking with reporters during a stop at a shelter, Turner said he told Trump there needs to be a focus on getting storm evacuees out of shelters and into housing. Turner says he spoke to Trump during the president’s Saturday visit to the Houston area.

Turner says he also told Trump that officials have to help people who are still in their homes but hurting anyway.

The mayor called his discussions with Trump “very positive.” He says the president seemed to understand the need for upfront money to help in the recovery, and for funds to help hundreds of first responders whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

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3:30 p.m.

NBA star James Harden says he will donate $1 million to the city of Houston to aid in Harvey recovery.

The Houston Rockets point guard made the announcement Saturday with Mayor Sylvester Turner. They spoke at a news conference at the NRG Center, which has housed evacuees since Harvey swamped the Houston area more than a week ago.

Harden went to high school in California and college in Arizona but said Houston is his home. He posed for photos with fans and said the money would go people who need it.

President Donald Trump also pledged a $1 million donation for Harvey relief, but it’s unclear who will get the money. The donation is expected to come from his personal fortune.

Trump also visited evacuees Saturday in Houston.

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3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump has made a quick pit stop near a church in suburban Houston to speak with residents affected by Harvey and its flooding.

Trump on Saturday chatted with people who told him that the now-dry streets had recently been covered with water.

The president said: “These are people that have done a fantastic job of getting things together.”

He then pulled a man wearing a red “Trump” T-shirt in front of photographers, telling him, “Look at this guy. You just became famous.”

One man joked that he thought he’d see Noah’s ark coming down his once-flooded streets.

As Trump prepared to depart he said: “Good luck everybody” and “Good stuff.”

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1:40 p.m.

Houston’s school superintendent says 10,000 to 12,000 students whose schools were damaged by Harvey will have to attend classes elsewhere once school resumes on Sept. 11.

Richard Carranza, superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, toured the damaged A. G. Hilliard Elementary School on Saturday along with the school board president and other officials.

He says the district has assessed 245 schools since the storm and still has to look at about 40 more. He says about 115 of the schools that have been examined can be cleaned and ready to go on time. He says 75 schools suffered major or extensive damage and won’t be ready to reopen for months.

Carranza says the damage was spread out equally throughout the city and that students whose schools can’t reopen on time will be relocated to other facilities.

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1:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump helped serve lunch at a Houston shelter for people displaced by Harvey.

Wearing plastic gloves and a wide smile, Trump stood next to first lady Melania Trump and handed out hot dogs in white containers with the Red Cross logo.

As he briefly served lunches, Trump shook hands and posed for photos. He was heard asking one man about his military service.

The Trumps are on their second visit to Texas to survey damage from the hurricane. They’re also due to visit Lake Charles, Louisiana, later Saturday.

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1:20 p.m.

Residents of a west Houston suburb are demanding answers about when they’ll be able to return to their homes, which are still inundated with water more than a week after Harvey swamped the metropolitan area.

About 200 people rallied outside a subdivision in Katy, Texas, on Saturday, waving signs and barking questions. Public officials used a PA system to address the frustrated crowd.

Water has receded in much of the Houston area, but homes here remain flooded because of releases from a reservoir holding storm water. Officials say the releases must continue to protect the reservoir’s integrity.

Many who rallied said their homes were being sacrificed to save others.

Homeowner Sheetal Parwal said her family now has less than what they had when they immigrated from India 10 years ago, and that their home is now a swamp.

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1 p.m.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are meeting with Harvey survivors who are living in a shelter.

The Trumps walked through NRG Center in Houston, spending time in an area of the shelter designated for children. They are posing for photographs and shaking hands as they listen to people’s stories.

Trump at one point leaned down and cupped a little boy’s face while they spoke and then gave him a high five. He lifted a girl up and gave her a kiss.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott accompanied them. Abbott and Trump stopped at a table piled high with toys and books to speak with a family.

National Guard troops at the center shouted to Trump, “we’re proud of you” and “you’re doing a fantastic job.”

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12:50 p.m.

Melania Trump will not be shamed into sneakers.

On her second visit to storm-ravaged Texas, the first lady again boarded Air Force One in Washington wearing high heels and only changed to more casual attire on the plane.

Trump’s decision came after her fashion choices caused a stir earlier this week. On her visit to Texas on Tuesday, she donned stilettos as she left the White House. Some commentators criticized the choice as off-key for a trip designed to show support for people who’ve lost everything in the devastating storm.

In both cases, Trump changed into more practical clothing on the plane.

On Saturday, she emerged from the plane wearing green jeans and sneakers, and sporting a baseball cap reading “Texas.” Earlier in the week, her hat read “Flotus,” or First Lady of the United States.

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12:25 p.m.

Authorities say an elderly woman was found floating face-down in water in her flooded home in Port Arthur, Texas.

Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett told radio station KFDM on Saturday that the woman was found dead in her bedroom. He says the house had at least 2 feet (60 centimeters) of water in it.

Burnett has ordered an autopsy.

The woman’s death raises the death count from Harvey to at least 43 people.

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11:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is expected to meet with Harvey victims during his second trip to storm-ravaged Texas in the past week.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Houston on Saturday and were greeted by Gov. Greg Abbott at Ellington Field, a military reserve base in the southeast part of the city. Four Cabinet members including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are joining the president on this trip.

The president is expected to meet with Harvey victims at the air field before heading to a relief center. He did not interact with victims on his trip Tuesday to Corpus Christi and Austin.

Trump will head to Louisiana later Saturday.

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11:40 a.m.

Some people who were forced from their homes by flooding from Harvey have begun the process of getting their lives back in order.

Among them is 28-year-old Kim Martinez, who was waiting Saturday for insurance adjusters to come to her Houston neighborhood, which was devastated by the storm.

The mother of two was hosting a watch party for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight last Saturday when the waters reached several feet and forced about 15 people to the attic. They eventually got to safety.

Martinez says her insurance adjuster promised to call when he arrived from Florida but didn’t say when. Her sister is housing her family and three others who evacuated until they get federal disaster aid.

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11:25 a.m.

Officials in Beaumont, Texas, say water was handed out to 6,000 vehicles during a drive-thru giveaway meant to help the Harvey-smacked city get by until its water system up and running again.

Beaumont officials began giving out water on Friday and are doing so again Saturday. They have been struggling to cope since Thursday, when the swollen Neches River inundated the main water intake system and backup pumps failed.

The Army Corp of Engineers has sent pumps to help restore service, and an ExxonMobil team built and installed a temporary intake pipe to the city treatment plant. Exxon has a refinery and chemical plants in Beaumont.

Some Beaumont residents have water pressure, but a boil order is still in effect.

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10:45 a.m.

Firefighters have extinguished a large blaze at a building on Houston’s west side that is surrounded by flooding from Harvey.

Fire department spokeswoman Sheldra Brigham says no one was hurt in the fire on Saturday.

Brigham says the building had about 1 foot (30 centimeters) of water inside.

Houston TV station KTRK reported that firefighters were hampered by burglar bars on windows around the building, which appears to be a multi-family dwelling.

Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday told people in the area to evacuate because ongoing releases from two nearby reservoirs could keep thousands of homes flooded for up to 15 days.

Harvey dumped up to 50 inches (1.3 meters) of rain on the Houston-area after making landfall last week.

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10 a.m.

Firefighters in Houston are battling a blaze at a building still surrounded by Harvey’s floodwaters on the city’s west side.

Houston TV station KTRK reported Saturday that firefighters were being hampered by burglar bars on windows around the building, which appears to be a multi-family dwelling.

Parts of west Houston are still inundated from the release of floodwater from nearby reservoirs that are designed to catch storm runoff.

Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said the ongoing release of water could keep thousands of homes flooded for up to 15 days. He told residents that if they stayed and later needed help, first responders’ resources could be further strained.

Harvey dumped up to 50 inches of rain on the Houston-area after making landfall last week as a powerful hurricane.

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9:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is set to stop in Houston and Lake Charles, Louisiana, to survey damage from Harvey.

The White House says he’ll have time to talk to residents still recovering from the devastation. He’s also expected to meet with volunteers.

Those elements were missing from his first visit to the region on Tuesday. He was criticized as being off-key for a presidential trip to discuss communities in crisis.

Harvey made landfall in Texas last week as a Category 4 hurricane and lingered for days in the region, causing catastrophic flooding and killing at least 42 people.

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12:10 a.m.

One week after Harvey roared into the Gulf Coast, residents of a Texas city struggle with no drinking water, fires continue to erupt at a stricken chemical plant and funerals begin for some victims.

People waited in a line that stretched for more than a mile to get bottled water after the municipal system failed earlier this week in Beaumont, Texas, home to almost 120,000 people.

In Crosby, near Houston, thick black smoke and towering orange flames shot up Friday after two trailers of highly unstable compounds blew up at Arkema, a flooded chemical plant. It was the second fire there in two days.

President Don

ald Trump is set to visit the region devastated by Harvey for a second time Saturday.

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