Update – Houston Operations Suspended through Noon Thursday, August 31, 2017
August 29, 2017
The slow moving, now tropical storm Harvey continued to batter the Gulf region for a sixth straight day as it began to move into southwest Louisiana. Hundreds of thousands of people remain under evacuation orders and shelters are filled to capacity with people desperate to learn anything about the well-being of their loved ones and the status of their homes.
Emergency workers continued today to rescue frightened people in southeast Texas as floodwaters continued to rise. Officials continue to counsel patience with a stern warning that conditions are not likely to improve in the near term. The focus on rescue continues with a much lesser emphasis on damage assessment or recovery. Currently there are at least 30 confirmed or suspected flood related deaths and the city has imposed a midnight to 5:00 AM curfew. Record rainfall in excess of 51 inches since the storm began has almost 30% of Harris county land flooded. The continuing rain has forced the shutdown of both Bush International and Houston Hobby airports. To the dismay of those in Houston, the flooding continued today as the tropical storm system stalled in Gulf area.
Despite the challenges, safety must remain the top priority. All residents are encouraged to use extreme caution and to avoid placing themselves in a situation that can become deadly quickly. United operations at Houston have been suspended through Thursday, August 31 at noon. Humanitarian flights initially designed to carry displaced crews home along with emergency supplies of water and shelf stable foods were quickly relegated to supply flights only as it became clear that it was not possible to leave the Bush Airport.
We commend our flying partners and the countless other airport personnel, first responded and volunteer workers for their selfless commitment in the service of others and for setting aside their own needs in this effort. Together, AFA and the Houston leadership continue to reach out to Flight Attendants and other employees to confirm their safety and well-being.
We understand those stranded away from home are frustrated by their inability to get back to Houston to check on family and the status of their homes. It is important to understand the conditions under which the company has been granted authority to operate these emergency rescue flights into the area are conditioned upon the company not bringing additional people in the area which is already beginning to feel the stress from not being able to replenish food and other supplies.
As additional information become available on the restoration of service into Houston, we will communicate that through our broad based communication.