Mr. Speaker, my Houston area has suffered a historic hurricane, one that really changed the lives of all the people who were affected. My district was hammered by this flood.
To put it in perspective, 27 trillion gallons of rain fell over Texas and parts of Louisiana in the 6 days of the flood. That is enough water to file the Houston Astrodome 85,000 times.
At the height of the flood, 70 percent of Harris County, which is the Houston area, was flooded, 70 percent was underwater.
The devastation in Texas equaled, Mr. Speaker, the size of New Jersey. You place New Jersey in southeast Texas, that is how much of the area was affected by this flood and the rain.
People had anywhere between 36 and 52 inches of rain. The Weather Service had to create a new color, purple, on their maps to show how much rain had fallen. Nothing like this has ever happened in North America.
72,000 people were rescued by first responders and volunteers from high water. This is the largest civilian water evacuation since Dunkirk.
Thousands of civilian volunteers worked along with city and county first responders to save countless lives. The heroes came from all walks of life, from all parts of the country.
The attitude of the people of Texas was one of inspiration. Flooded victims who didn’t know each other, their homes were flooded, but they were helping other flooded victims get to safety and get what property they could recover. This heroism reminded me what it means to be a Texan and an American.
Mr. Speaker, Harvey will not defeat the human spirit. There were two men in Brownwood. Now, you know where Brownwood, Texas, is. Probably nobody else ever heard of it. That is in way west Texas. They decided they wanted to help. They got in their pickup trucks. They drove to Austin, Texas, which is still 200 miles away from Houston. They went to a sports place there and bought a bass boat, a trailer, a motor, and filled it up with all kinds of stuff, drove to Houston, Texas, and kept working for others. That is one of many stories.
So this supplemental is important to southeast Texas. Let this vote show that we will vote not for politics, but for people.
And that is just the way it is.