Port Arthur flooding
Hurricane Harvey rescue operation in Port Arthur, Texas.

Two years ago this week, Hurricane Harvey dumped almost 50 inches of rain on the small Gulf Coast city of Port Arthur, Texas. Eighty percent of the city’s homes were damaged, and for many residents, recovery has been slow.

“We took on about three-and-a-half feet of water in our home and we actually just got out of a FEMA mobile home in February of this year,” says Port Arthur resident Hilton Kelley.

He says some people are still in temporary housing or staying with family.

“Many of them are still living in other communities, such as in Dallas, in Louisiana, and some families are still huddling together, cramped in small houses here in the city of Port Arthur,” he says.

Almost a third of the city’s residents live below the poverty line. Kelley says some simply cannot afford to rebuild, even after receiving federal assistance.

It’s a reminder that extreme storms often affect low-income people the most, and the hardships do not end when floodwaters subside and TV cameras leave.

“Even though the media has basically went away in places like Port Arthur,” Kelley says, “you still have those communities in southeast Texas that are hurting and that are in desperate need of support.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

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