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20 November 2017 Last updated 5 hours ago

Texas: At least 47 killed by Harvey storm

Mario Qua holds Wilson Qua as they evacuate their flooded home after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Mario Qua holds Wilson Qua as they evacuate their flooded home after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.

The powerful storm Harvey has so far killed 47 people and displaced more than a million on the US Gulf Coast, leaving devastation across more than 300 miles (480 km) in the state of Texas.

The city of Beaumont, about 80 miles (130 km) east of Houston, lost its drinking water supply while police and soldiers rescued thousands still stranded across Texas on Thursday.

Some 779,000 Texans have been told to leave their homes and another 980,000 fled voluntarily amid dangers of new flooding from swollen rivers and reservoirs.

Texas officials said at least 44 people were dead or feared dead. Another 19 remained missing. About 189,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity and nearly 100,000 homes suffered flood damage.

The health risks from pollutants in floodwater and loss of water were among hazards emerging in the aftermath of Harvey.

The storm made landfall last Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in over five decades. It has since been downgraded to a tropical depression as it heads inland.

In Houston, the US energy hub and the nation’s fourth largest city, firefighters conducted a house-by-house search to rescue stranded survivors and recover bodies.

Gasoline futures on the New York Stock Exchange spiked over 13 percent on Thursday as nearly a quarter of US refining capacity had been knocked offline, raising fears of fuel shortages.

Beaumont was threatened by a rising river that forced the evacuation of some 190 people from a hospital that halted operations after the storm knocked out water service in the city of almost 120,000 people.

There were explosions at a chemical plant about 25 miles (40 km) east of Houston after it was engulfed by floodwater.

The economic cost from Harvey for southeastern Texas has been estimated at $51 billion to $75 billion, ranking it among the costliest storms in US history.

Damages from Harvey are not likely to be as extensive as Katrina, which made landfall in 2005 in southeast Louisiana and killed 1,800 people.

US President Donald Trump traveled to Corpus Christi, Texas, on Tuesday to survey some of the damages. US Vice President Mike Pence visited Texas on Thursday.