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Helping Harvey victims: Indiana Task Force One delivers aid to Texas

Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 19:15:53-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- A second group from Indiana's Task Force One was stationed in Texas as "catastrophic" flooding from Hurricane Harvey continues to paralyze Houston and surrounding areas in the southeastern part of the state. 

The 14-member water rescue team was activated Sunday to respond to Texas in support of their ongoing Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts. The team packed up four boats and food and water for up to 72 hours. 

The group is prepared to help people who are stranded by getting supplies to them.

There are 210 people on Indiana Task Force One. Seven are already in Texas from Task Force One's Hazmat Support team, and 14 more are headed that way. Both groups are expecting to work more than 12 hours a day.

The Hazmat Support team was activated earlier this week and arrived in Texas Saturday morning. 

Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, hit southeastern Texas this weekend, and forecasters said it would continue to make its way inland over the course of the next several days.

"It's a very, very large scale operation and the problem is, it's not done yet," said Jay Settergren of Indiana Task Force One. "The initial surge from the hurricane came in and did the damage with the wind and flooding and then you get the aftermath of the rain that's gone on for three or four days that's going to create even additional flooding."

READ | How Hoosiers can help

Task Force One is a federal resource comprised of central Indiana emergency responders from Fire Departments, Law Enforcement and civilians from various professional backgrounds across the state.

"What people don't realize when that water floods in those urban areas is that it collects all kinds of stuff that's been sitting around. It can be sewage plant water, it can be refineries in that area, it can be fisheries," said Settergren.

PHOTOS | Harvey slams Texas coast

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said his agency is already gearing up for a years-long effort to help Texas recover from the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey.

"FEMA is going to be there for years," administrator Brock Long said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

He added, "This disaster is going to be a landmark event."

Volunteers with the American Red Cross also made their way to Texas Monday, but said they were having a tough time delivering aid because of the continuous rain and flooding.

"It is still pouring down rain," said volunteer Judy Brown. "We're trying to send some of the trucks out to go to the shelters and also to take food out, but they can't get anywhere. All the roads are closed so they keep coming back so as of now it's really bad. "

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