HOUSTON — Residents living in The Pines Condominiums in Memorial woke up to a surprise the Monday morning Harvey dumped devastating rainfall all across southeast Texas.
“In the morning my wife gets a text message, from the neighbors upstairs… If you need to get out of the water you can come up stairs. We had no idea what she was talking about… I`d say it was about the height of my cell phone so about right there,” said resident Naeem Ravat.
Water from the Addicks Barker Reservoir had made its way down to Memorial, invading and destroying the first floor of these family condominiums as it flowed.
Calls for rescue by both volunteers and emergency personnel were bravely answered, as the current was too strong for children, or the elderly.
The floodwaters not only destroyed property, it took the life of Cathy Montgomery, an elderly woman with multiple sclerosis – confined to a wheelchair.
“On Monday, she had a caregiver that had called and talked to her, and they were trying to remove her from the unit. That afternoon she couldn`t get her anymore and then Tuesday morning she tried again, no answer,” said Emile Nassar, the Pines Homeowner`s Association President.
Not many neighbors say they knew Cathy, and the Pines management says her estranged brother gave them permission to remove all her things and throw them out.
But if Harvey did one positive thing, amongst all this devastation, ‘not knowing your neighbors’ is a thing of the past.
“We were never a community. We were just 250 totally separate and independent units we really didn`t know anybody, nor did we care about anybody or say hi… Now whenever we pass anybody in a car here, or we`re walking we actually ask each other `are you ok? Is there anything that you need?” said Ravat.
That`s not to say they`re not upset over the way waters were released. Many are considering joining class action lawsuits, but that comes later.
For now, cleanup has started, and the journey to rebuild looks long. “We just take it a day at a time,” Nassar said.