Flooding in Houston

Reporting by Trace Gallagher

The numbers are unimaginable in their scope.

In Texas Alone up to 50 counties are being told to expect up to 50 inches of rain by Thursday. Two feed has fallen in the Houston area since the weekend.

In all, Harvey has so far produced nine trillion gallons of water.

With the catastrophic flooding and mandatory evacuations officials in Houston say the situation remains “very dangerous” as they prioritize rescue.

56,000 9-1-1 calls have been reported in the nation’s fourth largest city, overwhelming the system, with at least 2,000 residents evacuated so far by air and boat. Thousands more forces to seek a dry escape.

“It was just so real,” said one Houston resident. “We had to bust a window when they told us that the current was getting high. We had to bust a window to get out.”

Federal officials say at least 30,000 people are staying in temporary shelters and as many as 30,000 more may need a place to stay. Many facilities in Houston could soon approach capacity.

“I plan on staying here for the time they let us stay here,” said Houston resident Miranda Nowell. “Four or five days until the rain stops and then go home.”

To protect the city center long term, two area reservoirs released more water, adding to the short term concern. And adding to the chaos, a sad reality, with the rain often come looters.

“We’ve had four people that tried to loot and they were arrested,” said Chief Art Acevedo of the Houston Police Department. “After these events, frequently especially nce the natural disaster piece of it, where there are active floods going on, folks move in from around other states and even other cities and other regions to come in and loot and create problems.”

It’s a scene played out across Texas in communities’ big and small—stranded residents on roofs, cars and even in trees.

Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard tells Fox News they have “multiple flight crews” and have “thrown ever Coast Guard asset available” at the response, but there are conditions still where it is just not safe to fly.

With some coastal areas like Corpus Christi just beginning the massive cleanup officials estimate 450,000 people may require federal disaster assistance.

National Guard and citizen volunteers continue patrolling flooded-out streets and neighborhoods.

2016 Contenders: Governor Rick Perry

Ebola has reached the United States—now what?

By: Katy Ricalde

Exactly one month ago today President Obama took to the podium at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to assure the American people that U.S. would be prepared to handle an Ebola outbreak in the “unlikely” event that someone with Ebola made it into the country.

There have now been three diagnosed cases of the Ebola virus in the United States. The first patient, Thomas Duncan, died and two nurses who cared for Duncan have tested positive for Ebola. Dozens of other healthcare workers in Dallas are being monitored for the virus.

Duncan was treated at Texas Health Presbyterian, but they did not quarantine him right away. The hospital has come under fire in the past and even lost federal funds because of its high discharge rates of patients who later had to return for treatment. They were also penalized in Dallas under a three-year program designed to reduce the number of patients readmitted for care.

Nurses at the same hospital have come forward stating protocol was not followed while caring for the patient. They claim their protective gear left their necks exposed, medical waste was allowed to pile up, they did not have access to proper supplies, and that they did not receive proper hands-on training.

The head of the CDC is assuring Congress Ebola is not a significant threat to the U.S., but lawmakers are accusing hospitals of being unprepared, health care workers not properly trained, and bureaucrats guilty of making false assumptions.

Hospital officials in Dallas are admitting they made serious mistakes in dealing with the first Ebola patients to be diagnosed in the U.S.  

The first nurse to test positive, Nina Pham, is being taken to NIH outside of Washington, D.C., where she will be transferred to a biohazard infectious disease isolation area. She received a potentially life-saving blood transfusion from Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly.

The second nurse, Amber Vinson, has already been moved to isolation at Emory University Hospital. Vinson flew commercially the day before testing positive for Ebola. The CDC said that Vinson called the agency before flying to alert them she had a fever of 99.5 degrees, but because it was below the 100.4 degree mark she did not fall into a “high risk” group and was allowed to fly.

Officials are now trying to ease fears as they alert the passengers who were on board that flight and as concerns over air travel increase.

Fever screenings at major international airports began for anyone coming from West Africa and some lawmakers are questioning whether a travel ban should go into effect.  

A CDC official tells Fox News that in order for a travel ban to be effective, it would have to be universally adopted by all nations where travelers from West Africa come through. If the U.S. adopted a travel ban it would still be possible for a person infected with Ebola to enter the country if the traveler came in contact with a person with Ebola somewhere outside of West Africa.

Another concern is the rate at which the virus spreads. The reproduction number, or “R nought,” is a mathematical term that tells you how contagious an infectious disease is—aka the number of people who, on average, catch the disease from one sick person. The rate for Ebola is around 1.5-2.0—relatively low, however it has proven to be true with Duncan infecting two others.

Political arguments over Ebola have already begun and it has become yet another issue that will be a fixture ahead of the midterm elections. A new Fox News poll shows that nearly half of Americans believe the government is hiding information on Ebola.

What are your thoughts? How do you think this will play out in the midterm elections?

 

New Concerns Over First Ebola Case Diagnosed in the US

Hotel Transformed to House Illegal Immigrants

A non-profit group is laying out plans to turn the Palm Aire Hotel in Weslaco, TX into a facility to house illegal immigrant children between the ages of 12-17. The group was awarded a $50 million federal contract to purchase the hotel.

The facility would hold 600 beds and house the illegal children for an average of 15 days, providing them with meals, medical care, educational programs, and even outdoor recreational facilities that currently include a pool, gym, and tennis courts. 

City officials have put a hold on the plans due to permit issues, but the the organization, Baptist Child & Family Services, hopes to have the facility operational by October 1st.

Some are concerned about the other landowners in the area, as well as how many children the facility will hold and how they will decide what children will stay or be turned away. A fence would be placed around the facility, and restrictions would be put in place. 

The facility would employ around 650 people, and proponents of the plan say this is a responsible move in the right direction. 

What do you think? Is this a good idea? Let us know here on the blog or on Twitter @BretBaier.

For more on this story please visit here.

 

UPDATE: Group drops the plan following public relations obstacle

 

2014 primary season is underway!

The 2014 primary season officially began last night in the Lone Star state.

As predicted, Republican Greg Abbot, state attorney general, and Democrat Wendy Davis, state senator, both won their primaries and will advance to the November general election to replace longtime Republican Governor Rick Perry. 

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, defeated challeger Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) and Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) defeated Katrina Pierson, founder of the Garland Tea Party. 

Congressman Ralph Hall (R-TX), who is the oldest member of the House at at 90 years of age, failed to get 50.1% of the votes in the primary and will gon on to face a runoff election in May against John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney who says Hall has been in Washington for too long.

When asked about the runoff, Hall says he predicts he'll win and says, "If not, I'll go work at Wal-Mart. I’ve got to have a job.”

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