University Of Houston Students Talk About Campus Flooding

Aug 30, 2017
Originally published on August 30, 2017 7:33 am
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Forty-three thousand students at the University of Houston were settling in for the fall semester when Hurricane Harvey started bearing down on the coast of Texas. Anticipating the storm, many evacuated. Chloe Baker (ph) is among those who stayed. She saw a lot of flooding from her fourth-floor dorm window.

CHLOE BAKER: And also there's just been helicopters surrounding, just looking for people to rescue, and I can literally hear and see them when I look out the window, seeing helicopters flying around.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

One dorm was flooded out. But Baker, who's a senior, is still in her room. She is watching videos that friends and family sent her of the east Houston neighborhood where she grew up.

BAKER: My old high school was set up as a shelter, and it actually collapsed. And the Walmart that sat right across from my parents' house was being used as a safety point for people to be rescued with helicopters. And there's army trucks just going around my neighborhood where I grew up at, where I lived. I mean, I'm thankful for everything, all the help that is being sent to us, but it's very, very scary.

MARTIN: Joquma Osugi (ph) is another stranded student. He says one night his mom called him eight times to see if he was safe. He did stock up on food, but after four days not able to get out, supplies ran low.

JOQUMA OSUGI: My roommate and I were pretty much - we were, like, going through all of our food and then, like, it came to a stage where, like, we're asking people, like, in our group chats if, like, they wanted to share their food.

GREENE: The university did open the campus cafeteria and is delivering food to some of the dorms, but many students are just lonely.

JENNIFER OFFADIAL: More than half of the people that were here originally at the start of the semester left. So parking lots are empty, some cars are damaged at this point 'cause they were filled with water. But a lot of people have left.

GREENE: That is 20-year-old Jennifer Offadial (ph).

OFFADIAL: At the moment, I don't have friends with me. I'm actually alone. My roommate left as well so I've been alone for the past four days.

GREENE: She says her parents did ask her to be with the family in nearby Richmond, but she said no and then she felt terrible when she saw her hometown was flooding.

OFFADIAL: So when I woke up and I saw the video of what was happening in Richmond, Texas, it kind of gave me a fright. It kind of gave me a regret as to why I didn't go back to my side of town. Like, I felt like I was powerless, like I couldn't help my family out.

MARTIN: Her family is OK, and classes are scheduled to start next week, weather permitting. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.