- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Around 9,000 people are taking shelter in the Houston Convention Center by Tuesday morning, exacerbating the limit of only 5,000 people, and 17,000 people are in dozens of Red Cross shelters, ABC News reported.

The City of Houston also announced on its Twitter account in English and Spanish that it won’t be checking for immigration papers or IDs, encouraging more people to seek shelter.

Pets are also being welcome at the Houston Convention Center, despite Red Cross protocol to not allow animals in the shelter for safety reasons. Volunteers are working to provide adequate food and water for four-legged friends in addition to caring for the evacuees.

Some displaced pets are being sent to an animal shelter in San Antonio, CBS News reported. Pets already in the shelter are being sent to Oregon to make room for the influx of new animals.

They’ve already evacuated 200 pets, CBS News reported, with the majority dogs, about 50 cats and one gerbil.

The Red Cross also listed animal shelters accepting animal evacuees in Dallas, Austin and areas of Houston not affected by the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey.

The American Red Cross said the organization has provided 80 tractor-trailer loads of cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies, but it’s still urging donations for immediate relief response.

“It’s been a tragic weekend, and unfortunately, the worst is yet to come. It’s been predicted that Harvey will continue to hover over the region and might drop as much as an additional 30 inches of rain,” Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross, said in a statement late Monday night.

The Red Cross already has shelter supplies for 34,000 people and are shipping in supplies that can accommodate 18,000 more people.

“Thousands of people have had to be rescued, and we are in the beginning of a massive relief effort, providing safe shelter and comfort for those forced from their homes. The American Red Cross is on the ground now and will be there for weeks to come, working alongside our partners to coordinate response efforts,” Mr. Kieserman said.

Water rescues by police and private citizens are ongoing. Houston resident Andrew White, who is assisting water rescues with his own boat, told CNN that the emotional distress is taking its toll on people being rescued from their homes.

“They are saying things that aren’t making sense. They are in total shock. Children are quiet with their eyes wide. … Adults are extremely thankful,” he said, adding that fast moving water and debris are making the rescues increasingly more difficult.

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