Mayor tells residents not evacuating for Hurricane Harvey to write social security numbers on their arms

'We hate to talk about things like that, but it’s the reality,' says official

Harriet Agerholm
Saturday 26 August 2017 10:46
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Hurricane Harvey seen approaching Texas from space

A Texas mayor reportedly told residents who did not evacuate before Hurricane Harvey hit to write their social security numbers on their arms.

As the southern state braced for the storm, Patrick Rios, mayor of the small city of Rockport, which was thought to be directly in the storm's path, said people should leave the coastal community or make themselves easily identifiable.

“We’re suggesting if people are going to stay here, mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and social security number,” Mr Rios told a press conference. “We hate to talk about things like that. It's not something we like to do but it’s the reality, people don’t listen.”

Five cities, including Rockport, and seven counties issued mandatory evacuations ahead of the storm, while several other areas issued voluntary evacuations.

Harvey made landfall in Rockport after quickly gathering force above the Gulf of Mexico. It hit the coast as a category four storm, with maximum winds of 130mph.

According to initial reports by KIII-TV, 10 people were treated in Rockport after the storm hit.

Several people were taken to the county’s prison for assessment and treatment after the roof of a senior housing complex collapsed, Rockport city manager Kevin Carruth said.

He added that the city courthouse has sustained major damage and a cargo trailer had rolled into the building. Rockport’s historic downtown area was also been heavily damaged, he said.

Rockport volunteer fire department spokeswoman Gillian Cox told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that the roof of Rockport’s high school had partly collapsed.

But she said social media posts that the school has “disappeared” were inaccurate.

The storm is forecast to head towards Houston, which is vulnerable to flooding.

Both Texas and Louisiana declared a state of emergency. Harvey is the first major hurricane to hit the US in 12 years.

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