Texas' poor hit hardest by floods after Harvey

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It was downgraded to a tropical depression as it headed inland on Thursday, dumping unprecedented quantities of rain and leaving devastation across more than 480km in the south-east corner of the state.

Jeff Lindner, meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District, said Harvey flooded an estimated 136,000 structures in Harris County, or 10 percent of all structures in the county database.

Search and rescue efforts are still in full swing near Houston and the Texas coast. The death toll is expected to rise.

Vice-President Mike Pence, who visited the flood-hit region on Thursday, said that 311,000 people had so far applied for federal help. The storm had transformed roads into rivers in America's fourth-largest city, driving more than 8,000 people into emergency shelters. "This is the third major flood in Houston in the last three this condition is sort of becoming the new normal".

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said 30,000 to 40,000 homes, perhaps more, may have been damaged.

"The Texans that are helping out fellow Texans and other people who came in from outside of the state are the ones who are truly making America great", he said.

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"Our whole city is underwater", said Port Arthur, Texas Mayor Derrick Foreman in a social media post where he also broadcast live video of floodwaters filling his home in the city of 55,000 people, about 160km east of Houston. A civic center that was being used as a shelter had to be evacuated when it started flooding. The child was rescued clinging to her dead mother, authorities said. The child was recovering at a hospital.

He added: "The journey to rebuilding is going to be a long one". FEMA has served about 5 million meals, and the agency reported 210,000 people had registered for government assistance.

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, warned that the recovery would be a "multiyear project". With the water still rising in places and many hard-hit areas still inaccessible, those numbers seemed certain to increase, too.

Trump, speaking Wednesday during a previously scheduled appearance in Springfield, Missouri, praised emergency workers as heroes whose "courage and devotion have saved countless lives".

"They have to open up their hearts to their friends and family", said Schwing, 63. "Their strength, their love, and their resolve". "Texas is going to get a chance to finally dry out as this system pulls out".

"It is not my house anymore", she said.

Tens of thousands are in crowded evacuation centres across the region.

With the opening of Houston's NRG Center to evacuees, another 30,000 beds are available, Gov.

Fresh signs that the nation's almost unfathomable flooding is just beginning came Wednesday as Louisiana became the next state to be hit by now-Tropical Storm Harvey.

The city did offer a similar program to victims of Hurricane Katrina, Howard said, noting that numerous residents who moved into those homes are still living in the city. Almost 30 inches (75 cm) of rain hit the Port Arthur area, the National Weather Service said.