In response to the catastrophic storm that hit the southeast region of Texas over the weekend, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has activated the entire Texas National Guard to support recovery efforts.
Abbott said there are roughly 12,000 guardsmen total to help aide those in need.
“These guys have saved our lives,” one woman rescued by Texas National Guard soldiers said in a video by Staff Sgt. Tim Pruitt. Her husband and dogs were also rescued. “We’ve been in water all day, actually since last night, and we didn’t think help was coming. … Thank you so much.”
Houston, which is the country’s fourth largest city, has been overwhelmed with flooding as result of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and lingered as a tropical storm over the weekend.
The National Weather Service deemed the flooding, which caused at least four fatalities, forced evacuations and wiped out homes, “epic and catastrophic.”
Abbott told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Monday that he expects the aftermath of Harvey to be “horrific,” leaving a mess that will “take years” to rebuild.
According to ABC News, about 20 to 40 inches of rain has already fallen in the Houston area. As of mid-Monday, the highest rain was 39.72 inches near Dayton, Texas. Rainfall totals could reach 50 inches by the end of the week.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Texas on Tuesday to view the damage in person. He also said he may return to Texas on Saturday and visit Louisiana too, where floodwaters are growing and may get worse later this week.
Trump said Monday at a joint news conference with the president of Finland, “To the people of Texas and Louisiana, we are 100 percent with you. We’re praying for you, we’re working closely with your leaders and officials, and I will be visiting the impact zone tomorrow to ensure that you’re receiving full support and cooperation from the federal government.
“My administration is coordinating closely with state and local authorities in Texas and Louisiana to save lives, and we thank our first responders and all of those involved in their efforts,” Trump added. “We’ve pledged our full support as Texas and Louisiana battle and recover from this very devastating and historic storm.
“Recovery will be a long and difficult road, and the federal government stands ready, willing and able to support that effort. Right now the single most important thing is the safety and security of those still in harm’s way, including the first responders who have been so terrific and brave,” Trump continued.
“Tragic times such as these bring out the best in America’s character; strength, charity and resilience are those characters,” the president added. “We see neighbor helping neighbor, friend helping friend and stranger helping stranger. … We are one American family. We hurt together, we struggle together, and believe me, we endure together.”