By LYNN SHIGEKAWA
The City of Manvel experienced extreme flooding following category 4 Hurricane Harvey and roads were still impassable in areas of Manvel almost a full week later.
The Emergency Operation Center (EOC) was opened at noon on Friday in order to coordinate emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts with all city departments, citizens, and surrounding communities. Numerous people from Police, Fire, Finance, IT and city staff took calls and filled in the necessary paperwork for reporting to FEMA in order for Manvel to receive reimbursements.
To further complicate matters, the city hall building began taking on water Monday night after sundown. In order to stay on track for the budget and setting of the tax rate according to the laws of the State of Texas, the regularly scheduled Council meeting was held. The Mayor, Councilman Wilmer and Councilmembers Hehn and Sifuentes were in attendance. The latter two were picked up by high-water vehicles in Rodeo Palms and returned upon adjournment.
The entire EOC shortly thereafter had to relocate to the EMS building on 1128 next to the Post Office. All equipment, personnel and any necessary items to “stand up” in the new location were taken by several high-water vehicles (dump trucks.) It was impossible to travel by foot to vehicles and most were assisted into the front of the trucks. Personnel at this time numbered about 10 persons.
Since Monday night the EOC has been housed at the EMC. According to Mayor Davison, “The biggest issue in Manvel right now is still the high water in locations that prohibit vehicles from traveling across town. There is a sense of false security that takes place and people are not checking the available reports on the water levels and what is still not passable. We are still asking that all stay in place if at all possible.”
Mayor Davison added, “There are 135+ persons in our shelter at The Church on Masters Road. All of those were assisted evacuations. On Monday afternoon at approximately 4:00 p.m. I made a call to our Brazoria County Commissioner, Ryan Cade, and within an hour, he was in our City Hall followed by two high water vehicles and the beginnings of the food needed for the citizens being evacuated to the shelter. Pastor Stuart Martin with the Church of the Harvest offered his church earlier in the day but at that time the Red Cross was still asking all to travel to the Alvin shelter. Later, the Church of the Harvest had limited access. Then, Pastor Jason Lee at the Church on Masters Road opened his doors to our citizens.”
A final comment from Davison, “We still have impassable waters in all sectors of the town and it is important for all citizens to stay in their homes if at all possible.”
Local contact numbers provided by the Emergency Operation Center were; Manvel Police Department 281-489-1212; Manvel Emergency Operations Center 832-336-4071; and CenterPoint Energy 713-207-2222.