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    The Texas state flag and American flag wave in the wind over an area of debris left behind in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Rockport, Texas.

    Hurricane Harvey Disaster: 'Real Estate Sector in Houston May Never Be The Same'

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    Disastrous flooding triggered by Hurricane Harvey in the US state of Texas is expected to deteriorate in coming days. Although it’s unclear to what extent the shutdown of petroleum refineries and chemical plants will have on the economy, but the hurricane has severely affected the real estate sector, Jim Blackburn from Rice University told Sputnik.

    Talking about the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, Jim Blackburn, professor of environmental law at Rice University, said that thousands of homes have been damaged and it will take many months to make them livable again.

    “Real estate and in particular some 20,000 homes have been evacuated and there are 9,000 refugees in the centre downtown, but certainly there are areas of the town that might have to be considered uninhabitable in the future,” the professor said.

    According to him the “real estate development sector in Houston may never be the same” after this hurricane.

    He also said that Houston-based facilities and products have also suffered and in the long term availability of plastics and gasoline will be affected heavily

    Talking about how long it will take for the region to recover from the hurricane, Blackburn said that although it’s too early to say anything, one thing is clear: every home that has been flooded will need to be repaired because many people will try to get back into their homes as soon as possible. 

    “It can easily take several months for repairs to take place. The walls, floors, the carpets, etc., all will get moulded, so virtually everything will need to be taken out, including the furniture. There can also be major electrical damage, so we will actually be rebuilding some of the areas that have been flooded,” Blackburn said.

    He added that this could take six months to a year just to get people back into their homes and also to figure out the insurance policies for all the damage that Hurricane Harvey has caused.

    According to the professor, this hurricane is very different from any other calamities that have occurred in the US before because of its sheer scale.

    “We are looking at storms today and in the future that are going to be quite different. We have had two 500-year floods and this one now, which I think will be considered a 1,000-year flood event. It’s not supposed to happen within just a two to three year time period,” Blackburn said.

    He further stressed that the statistics are not supposed to work in this way, and it is vital to reconsider worst-case scenarios.

    “However, it’s very difficult due to the climate change debates that we are having. It is really time to roll up our sleeves and truly understand these implications and do something about them, otherwise, events like these are going to be recurring,” the professor added.

    Disastrous flooding triggered by Hurricane Harvey in the US state of Texas is expected to deteriorate in the coming days. Heavy downpours of almost 30 inches have turned Houston's roads into rivers. According to the estimations of the National Weather Service, total rainfall could double by the end of the week.

    Earlier, Donald Trump declared a federal emergency in the US state of Louisiana. Meanwhile, as many as 3,000 people have been rescued in Houston and neighboring areas, while at least 30 people are believed to have died in storm-related incidents.

    Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on Saturday and was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm by the US National Hurricane Center later on the same day. The storm affected mainly southeastern Texas, including the city of Houston, in addition to southwestern Louisiana. Harvey is the largest storm to hit the United States since the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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    Hurricane Harvey Hits US (63)

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    climate change, evacuation, flooding, damage, real estate, interview, Hurricane Harvey, Texas, United States
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