‘Everyone was unprepared’ - couple from SA caught up in US storm Harvey

2017-09-01 13:45
Houston residents volunteered to help ferry the flood victims to a rescue centre. INSET: Marlon and Yvette Holzbach with their daughter Heidi.

Houston residents volunteered to help ferry the flood victims to a rescue centre. INSET: Marlon and Yvette Holzbach with their daughter Heidi. (Yvette Holzbach/Facebook)

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A Pietermaritzburg-born couple who now live in Houston, Texas, have opened their home and hearts to help those who were affected by Harvey, the monster storm.

Hurricane Harvey hit the south Texas coast late on Friday and stalled, gushing torrents of rain over Houston, the country’s fourth largest city.

Marlon (51) and his wife, Yvette Holzbach (50), who emigrated to Texas in 2001, told The Witness on Thursday how they were “very fortunate to have escaped with no water damage” to their home in Kenwood, located at the outskirts of Houston.

“It seems the worst is over for us but it’s not so easy for neighbours five houses down our street that have almost five feet (1,5 metres) of water still in their homes,” said Marlon.

Yvette said Tuesday was the worst day as she had witnessed some of her neighbours who live down her street “swimming out of their homes”.

“Everyone was unprepared. We knew that a hurricane was coming but no one expected that it would cause this much damage.

“One of our neighbours down the road were still moving some of their valuables upstairs when water started gushing in; it was knee-high and they had to leave everything and evacuate their home,” she said.

The high school sweethearts who went to Carter High School, felt that together with their neighbours, they needed to do something to help the victims.

Yvette said her husband and their 18-year-old son were part of the neighbourhood team who had helped in rescuing and transporting people to a rescue centre.

“I felt guilty sitting in my dry house doing nothing to help, so my neighbour and I opened up our homes as a staging area for people being dropped off by boats, canoes and kayaks after being rescued.

“We offered them food and helped them keep warm before transporting them to the front of the neighbourhood where they waited to be picked up by other volunteers with an airboat to a rescue centre,” said Yvette.

Marlon said it was heartwarming to see how people went out of their way to help complete strangers.

“It was also amazing to see how resilient, patient and grateful the people rescued were, even though their homes are flooded,” said Marlon.

Yvette said the storm had finally calmed and the sun was out but many of the roads in the area were still flooded.

Read more on:    us  |  pietermaritzburg
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