UPDATE: Facebook, Google to match Harvey donations

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Facebook and Google are matching donations to people affected by Hurricane Harvey, the tech giants announced on Tuesday. Facebook says it will match every dollar raised through its platform, up to $1 million, for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund. The money will support local recovery and rebuilding efforts. U.S. Facebook users are getting a message at the top of their news feed on how to donate.

Texas National Guard soldiers from 636 BSB assisting with rescue operations in flooded areas | Photo: Texas Military Dept

Google says it is matching $1 million in donations to the American Red Cross. To donate, go to https://www.google.org/harvey-relief/ . The company also matched donations from employees, and said Tuesday it donated $750,000 between its nonprofit arm, Google.org, and employee contributions to organizations such as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed that police Sgt. Steve Perez has died after he became trapped in his patrol car as he was driving to work.

The Houston Chronicle has reported that the 30-year officer was heading to work Sunday when he became trapped in high water on Interstate 45 in north Harris County and then couldn't get himself out of his car.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- NAACP interim President Derrick Johnson says his organization will carefully monitor government assistance in Houston and other areas to ensure minority neighborhoods get adequate resources following Harvey's destruction on the Gulf Coast.

Johnson says the NAACP's goal will be "to ensure that resources directed from the federal government don't skip neighborhoods."

Johnson told the National Press Club Tuesday that he met with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier in the day. He says the NAACP has a responsibility to make sure "equity is at the table" during recovery efforts, noting that minority neighborhoods suffered disproportionately during Hurricane Katrina.

Johnson is the former president of the Mississippi State Conference NAACP. He says Katrina shows "it is critically important for the association to ensure that the recovery is equitable."



WASHINGTON (AP) --Gov. John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is offering to shelter storm victims from Texas while the state also helps its own residents who were rescued from Harvey's floodwaters overnight.

Edwards said at a news conference Tuesday in Baton Rouge that he expects Texas officials to decide within 48 hours whether to accept the offer and transport flood victims to Louisiana shelters.

Approximately 500 people were evacuated Monday night and early Tuesday from flooded neighborhoods in southwest Louisiana. Edwards says about 200 of them spent the night in area shelters.

Edwards says more than 600 members of the Louisiana National Guard are on storm-related duty. Many are assisting with rescue efforts.

Edwards says Tropical Storm Harvey was strengthening slightly after moving back into the Gulf of Mexico but wasn't expected to become a hurricane again before its predicted Wednesday landfall in Louisiana.



WASHINGTON (AP) --Volunteers and donors are lining up outside of the Toyota Center, the downtown arena that's home to the Houston Rockets, in anticipation that it will open as a shelter for Harvey evacuees.

City officials and Red Cross spokesmen have not confirmed that the arena will open to shelter evacuees. But several people who went to the George R. Brown Convention Center to volunteer or drop off clothes were told that the Toyota Center would open Tuesday afternoon. Around 30 people are waiting outside an arena entrance.

The convention center has nearly doubled its original 5,000-person capacity, and Mayor Sylvester Turner says the city may open multiple major shelters to accommodate the thousands of people still seeking shelter.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pe�a says his agency has responded to more than 1,000 calls for service -- including 400 water rescues -- since Harvey inundated much of the city.

Pe�a says some fire department crews have been working for three days straight, without a break, and he has implemented procedures to ensure firefighters get the nourishment and rest they need.

Pe�a says it has been difficult to get in fresh crews to replace firefighters at some locations because in many areas, "we can't get in and out of the fire stations" due to flooding. "We can't deploy them to where we need them with their equipment."

Pe�a says the fire department is managing the resources it has on hand and will rotate in fresh firefighter crews as it is able to do so.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The University of Tampa has fired a visiting assistant professor who suggested in a tweet that Harvey's destruction is "instant karma" for Texas because it voted Republican.

Sociology professor Kenneth L. Storey posted the tweet and two responses on Sunday before removing the entire thread and his profile photo.

University spokesman Eric Cardenas said in a statement Tuesday that Storey was fired after the school weathered an outpouring of online outrage over the comments.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Storey issued an apology on Monday, writing that he "never meant to wish ill will upon any group."

In a Facebook post on Monday evening, the university said it "stands in solidarity with the people impacted by Hurricane Harvey."

Officials said another sociology professor will take over Storey's classes.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Weather forecasters expect Tropical Storm Harvey to come ashore somewhere near Louisiana's southwestern corner, following its trip through Texas and return to the Gulf.

National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Erickson said Tuesday that officials project a landfall in Cameron Parish around midday Wednesday. Erickson says another 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain is likely across southwest Louisiana.

Forecasters also project heavy rain running east from New Orleans to Pensacola along the Gulf Coast.

Harvey is expected to bring gusts up to 45 mph (70 kph) in coastal areas and gusts of up to 35 mph (55 kph) in Lake Charles and along the Interstate 10 corridor.

Erickson warns that some coastal rivers won't be able to drain rains effectively because Harvey's winds are pushing storm surge into coastal waters, aggravating flooding in places that have already received more than 20 inches of rain.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Salvation Army says it has provided more than 5,000 meals in the Houston area since Harvey swamped parts of the city.

A Salvation Army statement Tuesday said the charitable group has deployed 42 mobile units that each can provide up to 1,500 meals per day. The group also sent two field kitchens, which can each serve up to 15,000 meals per day, to emergency personnel and flood survivors.

The Salvation Army says multiple staging areas are being set up across Texas to coordinate relief efforts as Harvey impacts more people. Those sites include Houston, San Antonio, Victoria and Arlington.

Lt. Col. Ron Busroe says donations from the public will help provide food, shelter and other valuable resources to people in Houston.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- There was no escaping Harvey for members of one Southeast Texas family who found themselves on an extended stay at a New Orleans bed-and-breakfast -- where sandbags are in place to guard against possible Harvey-related floods.

The Auld Sweet Olive Bed and Breakfast is the new, temporary home for Joe Aldape (ahl-DAH'-pey), his sister Cynthia, his son Joseph and other family members from the League City, Texas, area.

They had forged ahead with New Orleans vacation plans as Harvey developed. As of Tuesday, they had no way to return to their flooded homes. Meanwhile, bands of rain from Harvey prompted flash flood watches in New Orleans.

Bed-and-breakfast owner Nancy Gunn said her business took on water during Aug. 5 flash floods, but that it has not flooded so far during Harvey's rains.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- A South Texas ferry system operated by the state is closed to the public until further notice after at least two vessels were damaged during Hurricane Harvey.

A Texas Department of Transportation spokesman said Tuesday that all seven boats in the Port Aransas (uh-RAN'-suhs) Ferry System are being assessed. Rickey Dailey says the ferries must pass Coast Guard inspection before returning to service.

The ferry system provides free transportation connecting travelers between Aransas Pass on the mainland and Port Aransas on Mustang Island. It's a quarter-mile trip.

The ferries, each capable of transporting at least 20 vehicles, were taken out of service Friday morning as Harvey approached Port Aransas, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi. The area is where Harvey made landfall Friday night.

Dailey says all seven ferries were docked on the Port Aransas side when the storm hit.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Kim Kardashian West and her famous siblings are donating $500,000 to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

A spokeswoman for the reality star says she and her mother and sisters have given $250,000 to the Red Cross and $250,000 to the Salvation Army on Tuesday.

Kardashian West announced the donation on Twitter Tuesday, saying: "Houston we are praying for you." She used the hashtag (hash)HoustonStrong.

They are among several stars who've said publicly they are helping hurricane victims. Kevin Hart on Monday announced a $25,000 donation to the Red Cross for storm victims and called on other celebrities to do the same.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Houston plans to open up at least two more big shelters to house people trying to escape Harvey's floodwaters.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a news conference Tuesday that more than 9,000 people are now staying at George R. Brown Convention Center -- the largest shelter that has so far been opened. The capacity at the convention center was supposed to be 5,000 people.

Turner says Houston will open up two new big shelters, and possibly a third. He didn't identify where the shelters would be. More details are expected later Tuesday.

Turner says the number of people at the convention center has continued to grow because the facility is housing not only Houston residents but people from surrounding communities outside the city limits who are in need of shelter.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The mayor of Galveston is asking residents to stay put and off flooded roads as the city anticipates more rain from Harvey.

Mayor Jim Yarbrough says the city of about 50,000 could get up to 4 more inches (10 centimeters) of rain by Wednesday. The mayor says he wants Galveston residents to stay off the roads until conditions improve. Public transportation is not in service in Galveston. The city is 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Houston.

The Port of Galveston remains closed.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Houston's top law officer is warning would-be looters amid flooding from Harvey.

Police Chief Art Acevedo said during a news conference Tuesday that armed robbers were apprehended overnight and a "handful" of looters were also taken into custody. He didn't say just how many have been arrested on charges related to looting.

Acevedo says he's spoken with the Harris County district attorney's office to ensure anyone suspected of looting is prosecuted. He also says he'll lobby judges and prosecutors to secure the most severe punishment Texas law allows.

State law allows for penalty enhancements for crimes like burglary and robbery that occur during a state of disaster



WASHINGTON (AP) -- South Carolina is sending helicopters, National Guard soldiers, rescue swimmers and others to Texas to help deal with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Gov. Henry McMaster's office said Tuesday that McMaster has signed an order to provide help requested by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

The state is sending two South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Teams consisting of four National Guard soldiers and rescue swimmers from across the state. South Carolina is also sending a ground team of eight soldiers and nine rescue swimmers.

McMaster's office also says the South Carolina Forestry Commission is sending 18 members of its incident management team to Texas on Wednesday to help with ongoing flood recovery efforts in Texas.

McMaster says the state is ready to provide any additional help Texas may request.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Houston officials say they're aware of a report of a police officer drowning in his patrol car as he was driving to work.

Mayor Sylvester Turner and police Chief Art Acevedo would not confirm the report in The Houston Chronicle.

The newspaper, citing three department officials it did not name, says the 30-year officer was heading to work Sunday when he became trapped in high water on Interstate 45 in north Harris County and then couldn't get himself out of his car.

The newspaper says the department hasn't yet notified his family. Search teams are attempting to recover his body.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Pentagon official says the military's contribution to Harvey rescue and recovery efforts could soon increase by tenfold or more.

Air Force Maj. Gen. James Witham told reporters Tuesday that there currently are about 3,500 National Guard troops involved, including about 3,000 from the Texas National Guard. He estimated that the Texas guard number could rise to 8,000 to 10,000 in coming days, possibly joined by 20,000 to 30,000 from other states.

Witham is the director of domestic operations for the National Guard Bureau.

He said the military is providing everything that has been requested by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, although the response is constrained by the stormy weather and by flooding that limits use of roadways.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Houston police chief says emergency personnel have conducted more than 3,500 rescues since Harvey's floodwaters began overtaking the city.

Chief Art Acevedo said during a news conference Tuesday attended by Mayor Sylvester Turner and other top officials that police officers and other emergency workers are rescuing people from rising waters even as their own homes are inundated.

Calls for help are expected to continue. The National Hurricane Center forecasts that Harvey will produce another 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain over the upper Texas coast and southwestern Louisiana through Friday.

At least three deaths are attributed to the storm but many more people are missing and Acevedo previously said he's "really worried about how many bodies we're going to find."



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Harvey has set a new continental U.S. record for rainfall from a tropical system.

A weather station southeast of Houston at Mary's Creek at Winding Road, reported 49.32 inches (125.27 centimeters) of rain as of Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

That breaks the previous record of 48 inches (122 centimeters) set in 1978 in Medina, Texas by Tropical Storm Amelia. The record for all of the U.S. is 52 inches (132 centimeters), set in Hawaii in 1950.

Meteorologist Marc Chenard of the weather service's Weather Prediction Center says: "It's a big deal."

Already 14 spots in Houston have recorded more than 40 inches (102 centimeters) of rain and 36 different locations in Houston have recorded more than 3 feet (90 centimeters) of rain.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- A spokeswoman says President Donald Trump wants to be "very cautious" about making sure that his activities in Texas don't disrupt Harvey recovery efforts.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump's stops Tuesday in Corpus Christi and Austin are intended to highlight coordination at all levels of government and lay the groundwork for what is expected to be a lengthy recovery after the storm.

Trump traveled with the Cabinet secretaries of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development, and the head of the Small Business Administration. Sanders says the secretaries will meet with their Texas counterparts.

Air Force One flew a path to Corpus Christi that avoided flying over Houston, where much of the downtown area is under water.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump has thanked Singapore's prime minister for his condolences and offer of assistance following Harvey.

The White House said Trump spoke by phone Tuesday with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who had offered the use of a Singaporean Air Force Chinook helicopter detachment that trains with the Texas Air National Guard.

The statement said Trump also thanked Lee for his country's support for the USS John S. McCain search, rescue, and recovery efforts. The McCain was damaged in a collision with an oil tanker last week near Singapore. The White House said the two leaders also discussed North Korea.

Trump is traveling to Texas to tour the flooding and other damage left by Harvey, the first major natural disaster of his presidency.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's 2020-re-election campaign committee is encouraging supporters to donate to disaster relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey.

A note Tuesday to the more than 10 million email addresses the campaign has collected links to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way and local animal rescue operations. The email encourages people to "help our fellow Americans in need."

Trump is visiting Texas later Tuesday as rains continue to pound the already flooded Houston area.

Lara Trump, an adviser to her father-in-law's re-election campaign, says in the email that this "is a time to come together as a nation to support those in need."



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Mike Pence is warning the people of southeast Texas that Harvey is still dangerous and that life-threatening flooding will continue.

Pence is urging residents to continue to listen their state and local officials. He commented during interviews Tuesday with radio stations serving Corpus Christi and San Antonio.

Houston has been paralyzed by a storm that struck on Friday and has been parked over the Gulf Coast ever since. More than 30 inches of rain has fallen in some areas and nearly 2 feet more is expected, leading authorities to fear the worst might be yet to come.

Pence says he and his wife, Karen, will visit the region later this week.

President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, were scheduled to visit Corpus Christi and Austin on Tuesday.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump says he is OK leaving open some senior federal government positions.

Trump tweeted that message just after conservative commentator Laura Ingraham criticized the lack of appointees to senior jobs. She included FEMA, where there is no deputy to Administrator Brock Long, who is directing Trump's response to Hurricane Harvey.

Ingraham said Tuesday on "Fox & Friends" that from the photos of flood-ravaged Houston, "we can conclude that a federal government does need staff. We see it acutely in need of staff in a situation like this."

Moments later, Trump used the Twitter handle for the show and Ingraham: "(at)foxandfriends We are not looking to fill all of those positions. Don't need many of them - reduce size of government. (at)IngrahamAngle."

Trump is visiting Texas Tuesday.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump is making an all-out push to show the federal government's responsiveness to the massive storm that has lashed the Texas coast and caused catastrophic flooding.

Trump will travel to Texas on Tuesday for briefings on the federal government's work to help the state recover from Harvey's devastation.

The storm marks the first time Trump has been tested by a major natural disaster at the start of his administration.

The president was scheduled to get briefings on the relief efforts in Corpus Christi, Texas, and later meet with state officials at the emergency operations center in Austin. The president will be joined by first lady Melania Trump.



 
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