Texas’ poor hit hardest by floods after Harvey

Many poor neighbourhoods built on flood plains or close to chemical plants worry that long-term aid will be slow to come.

The full extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and floods caused by it, which destroyed tens of thousands of homes in the state of Texas and neighbouring states, is still unknown.

But in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, it is the poorer communities that have been hit hardest.

Many neighbourhoods are built on flood plains or close to chemical plants – and some people worry long-term aid will be slow to come.

In Harris county, where Houston is located, one in three residents live below the poverty line and many have homes built in low-lying areas that repeatedly flood.

READ MORE: Facing Hurricane Harvey

For the poorest, the road to recovery will be long and slow with little money being invested by the government on flood defences.

Bernard Mills and Ashley Hamilton live in the city’s flooded fifth district. They fear they will now have to fend for themselves.

“It is going to be pretty much hard to try to get any outside help to get this community back together,” Hamilton told Al Jazeera.

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David Taylor – director of Magnificat Houses, a charitable organisation for the homeless – told Al Jazeera there are many people overwhelmed by the disaster. 

“You can go into shelters and you can see there are people hurting… How do they pick themselves up and move onto the next step in life,” said Taylor.

The Texas Department of Public Safety reports more than 37,000 homes have sustained major damage and nearly 7,000 have been destroyed by Harvey and its flooding.

Those figures come from a daily damage estimate compiled from reports by local officials – and the figures have been rising.

About $180m in damage to public property has occurred across the affected Gulf Coast counties so far.