South Africans in Texas help one another in midst of Harvey floods

2017-08-31 12:10
Vian Janse van Rensburg, a South African who resides in Katy, Texas, with his family, takes their two dogs, Jess and Oscar, to safety using his sister Mia's inflatable swan, after their house was flooded by monster storm Harvey. (Supplied, Netwerk24)

Vian Janse van Rensburg, a South African who resides in Katy, Texas, with his family, takes their two dogs, Jess and Oscar, to safety using his sister Mia's inflatable swan, after their house was flooded by monster storm Harvey. (Supplied, Netwerk24)

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Pretoria - "The South African community here in Texas is amazing!"

That's the opinion of Adri Janse van Rensburg, who lives with her family in Katy, near Houston, which was hit by monster storm Harvey, Netwerk24 reported. The family previously lived in Johannesburg.

"There are several South Africans here. We keep one another abreast of developments, encourage one another and help where possible.

"Those who can, ferry others' possessions to shelters.

"One of my South African friends on Tuesday joined others in garbage trucks to distribute drinking water to Katy residents. They also picked up people who had been trapped," said Janse van Rensburg from New York, where her daughter Mia is studying.

As a result of Harvey, she has not been able to return to Texas.

Her husband Adriaan and son Vian had stayed at home.

Stockpile 

Janse van Rensburg said before the storm hit Texas, they stockpiled water, food and batteries. 

"With the incessant rain, city engineers were also forced to let some water out of two reservoirs.

"The water kept pushing back and eventually started flooding our neighbourhood. Adriaan and the others took everything they needed to the upper level of the house."

Within hours, the situation had deteriorated.

"The toilets couldn't flush anymore and despite the fact that they still had electricity, it started getting dangerous because the water had started pushing up into the garage.

"Despite the fact that the situation wasn't life threatening, on Tuesday morning they decided to take up an offer from another South African, Jaco Smit, to stay with him and his family for the time being. Their house is quite a distance away.

"They took Mia's golden inflatable swan and let the family's two dogs, Jess and Oscar, sit on it to take them to safety about 1.6km from there."

Like a cowboy

In some places the water was chest-high.  

"While Vian dragged the inflated swan through the water, he shouted 'yee-haw' like a real cowboy," his mom said.

Other people helped the two Janse van Rensburgs with small inflatable boats to collect food and backpacks.

"Some people arrived at the shelters with just the wet clothes they were wearing," said Janse van Rensburg.

Read more on:    us  |  weather
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