by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News
HOUSTON, TX — Hurricane Harvey unleashed the worst flooding in Texas history. Just a few days after Harvey left Houston, the historic water levels continued to rise.
City officials feared the stability of the dams along Houston’s two largest reservoirs would not hold the rising water, and prompted officials to make a tough decision — unintentionally flood thousands of homes upstream, in the effort to save hundreds of thousands downstream if the dams should fail.
Residents, who thought they made it through the storm unharmed, were told their homes were being sacrificed. They were warned to gather their most valued possessions, and evacuate.
They were warned to gather their most valued possessions, and evacuate.
“The lowest homes could be inundated with water up to a month… That is why we’ve been talking about the for the last day and a half. To warn the residents this potential is there,” said Jeff Lindner, Houston Flood Control District. “As the pools rises, the water will rise deeper into the homes.”
Many residents whose homes were flooded have filed a class action lawsuit against local and federal government. The lawsuit alleges that the Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Houston and the Harris County Flood Control District, knowingly condemned their propertIES when they released the water. And ARE demanding financial compensation for damages and losses.
The lawsuit alleges that the Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Houston and the Harris County Flood Control District, knowingly condemned their properties when they released the water.
They are demanding financial compensation for damages and losses.
On one street, seven Fil-Am families were hard hit by the reservoir release. Those who spoke with BA said they are strongly considering joining the lawsuit.
“Why did they allow a community like this close to a flood gate? And now that we have been affected, if they will not support us financially then we are being neglected. So yes, we will go for it,” said Caesar Leynes.
“At least they have to pay for us to rebuild our houses. That is the minimum we are asking them,” said Edwin De Guzman.
Homeowners say that they don’t accuse the federal government of negligence, but that it all could have been avoided.
“They should have warned us ahead of time so that everyone would have time to leave before the water came. The water was in the streets but we were still calm. We didn’t think it was going to come to our houses,” said Lourdes Magsino.
“We want a permanent solution. So even if we rebuild and it floods again then it’s no use. Really the solution is to have the reservoir widened, or just solve the flooding problem,” said Christma Nacino. If we have to sacrifice our property we feel we should have to be compensated.”
The devastation was not only limited to homes and possessions. When the water receded, kababayans are now left with the monumental task of picking up the pieces and rebuilding their lives.
The consequences of this destruction have left families struggling day to day.
For many, the future is just as full of problems, as the present.
“Is this really happening? I hope it’s a nightmare! I hope it’s a dream it’s not true that I’m really moving out of my house,” said Elizabeth de Guzman.