CHRONICLES OF OUR GENERATION

CHRONICLES OF OUR GENERATION

Thursday, August 31, 2017





The Ark of the Covenant could have held pagan idols and may NEVER have been taken to Jerusalem by King David


  • The team have been excavating Kiriath Jearim where the ark was allegedly kept
  • Researchers believe it was not carried to Jerusalem by King David, but by Josiah
  • His scribes may have justified their political legitimacy by saying it was David
  • Ancient Israelites were polytheists and carried their idols in boxes
  • The ark could have contained Canaanite relics which were worshipped in Kiriath Jearim in the 8th century BC

But now, a team of archaeologists looking at the origins of the legendary Ark of the Covenant say it may have once carried Canaanite pagan idols. 
Researchers have been excavating Kiriath Jearim - an area where the Old Testament claims the ark was kept for 20 years before it arrived in Jerusalem.
They believe that rather than being carried from there to Jerusalem by King David it was carried by Josiah around 400 years later. 
Before converting to monotheism, the Israelites were polytheists and carried their idols in boxes meaning the ark could have been associated with beliefs far removed from the orders of the Ten Commandments.

Researchers have been excavating Kiriath Jearim - the place where the Old Testament claims the Ark of the Covenant was kept for 20 years before it arrived in Jerusalem
Researchers have been excavating Kiriath Jearim - the place where the Old Testament claims the Ark of the Covenant was kept for 20 years before it arrived in Jerusalem

WHAT HAVE THEY FOUND?

Sources suggest the Ark spent 20 years in in Kiriath Jearim but new findings indicate it could have been much longer.
This could explain why there are no more stories about it after 609BC, according to researchers from the College de France and Tel Aviv University.
Indeed, it could even have been Josiah - not King David - who brought the ark back to Jerusalem.
This would suggest the ark came back to Jerusalem in around 600BC and not in 1000BC as suggested in the Old Testament. 
The ancient site is referred to as a place of worship multiple times in the bible, and has various names including Kiryat Ye'arim, Kiryat Ba'al, Ba'alah and Ba'ale Judah - which probably relate to its Canaanite origins.   
Before converting to monotheism, the Israelites were polytheists and carried their idols in boxes.
Their findings suggest the ark could have contained Canaanite relics which were worshipped in the area in the 8th century BC. Despite its fame, nobody has ever been able to find the sacred wooden and gold-plated box.
The Old Testament says the Israelites took the ark through the desert where it was lost to Philistines in battle.
However, legend has it God punished the Philistines with sickness which forced them to return their finds to the Isrealites in Kiriath Jearim, where it remained for 20 years.
The story goes King David then took it to Jerusalem where it was put in King Solomon's Temple, from which point there are no further records of it.
'It is possible that the ark stayed much longer at Kiriath Jearim, and it was only Josiah who brought it to Jerusalem when he wanted to centralize all cultic and political activity there, and his scribes justified it by writing the story about David taking the ark,' Professor Thomas Römer, an expert in Hebrew at the College de France told Haaretz
New findings indicate it could have spent several hundred years in Kiriath Jearim.
This could explain why there are no more stories about it after 609BC, according to researchers from the College de France and Tel Aviv University.
Indeed, it could even have been Josiah - not King David - who brought the ark back to Jerusalem.
This would suggest the ark came back to Jerusalem in around 600BC and not in 1000BC as suggested in the Old Testament. Kiriath Jearim is referred to as a place of worship multiple times in the Bible, and has various names including Kiryat Ye'arim, Kiryat Ba'al, Ba'alah and Ba'ale Judah - which probably relate to its Canaanite origins. Moses and Joshua bowing before the Ark of the Covenant, which was believed to be kept at the ancient site of Kiriath-Jearim, in west Jerusalem
Moses and Joshua bowing before the Ark of the Covenant, which was believed to be kept at the ancient site of Kiriath-Jearim, in west Jerusalem

WHAT DOES THE OLD TESTAMENT SAY ABOUT THE ARK?

The Old Testament says the Israelites took the ark through the desert where it was lost to Philistines in battle.
However, legend has it God punished the Philistines with sickness which forced them to return their finds to the Isrealites in Kiriath Jearim, where it remained for 20 years.
The story goes King David then took it to Jerusalem where it was put in King Solomon's Temple, from which point there are no further records of it.
New findings indicate it could have spent several hundred years in Kiriath Jearim.
This could explain why there are no more stories about it after 609BC, according to researchers from the College de France and Tel Aviv University.
Their findings suggest the ark could have contained Canaanite relics which were worshipped in the area in the 8th century BC. 
Researchers have now uncovered a wall at Kiriath Jearim which could have supported a temple that was home to one of the most important cults in Israel at the time.
Sources suggest it was located just 12 kilometres (7.4 miles) west of the city and would have rivalled the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is the most important find and suggests Kiriath Jearim was powerful and much more likely to have been home to such an important relic.
'This site might have been one of the most important cultic centers of the country,' Christophe Nicolle, an archaeologist from the College de France told Haaretz.
'This reinforces the idea there was a temple here in the 8th or 7th century B.C.E., perhaps in competition with the Temple in Jerusalem'.Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the two stone tablets bearing the Ten Commandments
Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the two stone tablets bearing the Ten Commandments
Archaeological evidence also  suggests Kiriath Jerarim was home to cult activity during this time. 
This was well after King David was initially supposed to carry the ark off to Jerusalem. 
If these findings are correct, it could mean the ark only spent a few decades in Jerusalem before it was invaded by Babylonians.
Excavators say they are not expecting to find the Ark of the Covenant but are hoping their research will help them better understand the ancient Israelites.
Kiriath Jearim is referred to as a place of worship multiple times in the bible, and has various names including Kiryat Ye'arim, Kiryat Ba'al, Ba'alah and Ba'ale Judah - which probably relate to its Canaanite origins
Kiriath Jearim is referred to as a place of worship multiple times in the bible, and has various names including Kiryat Ye'arim, Kiryat Ba'al, Ba'alah and Ba'ale Judah - which probably relate to its Canaanite origins
'I want to know what's behind it, what it tells us about the history of Judah and Israel, of the cult of the God of Israel and the Temple in Jerusalem', said Dr Römer.
Scholars have suggested over the years the ark story is in fact dated to the 8th century BC and was then incorporated into biblical texts.
There is also debate over the accuracy of depictions of figures such as David and Solomon and the idea there was a unique Israelite kingdom in the 10th century as described in biblical texts.
This research shows the reality is more complex and Christian beliefs incorporated a number of influences from other religions and cultures at the time.

Solomon's Stables under the Temple Platform

Image Description from historic lecture booklet: "When the Temple was built, the summit of Mount Moriah was found not large enough for the building and its courts. The architects adopted the plan of building out the platform and resting it upon great walls reared up form the side of the mountain. we can descend by a series of steps into theses wast substructures which are underneath the open court south of the Dome of the Rock. There are thirteen of these great vaults, including an area of 273 feet from east to wast, and nearly 300 feet from north to south. They are called "Solomon's Stables" from a tradition of their use in ancient times. On the lower courses of the pillars a smooth band or drafting may be noticed. This is characteristic of very ancient work, and may indicate that the foundations of these structures were laid by the Tyrian builders of Solomon's Temple. As we look upward to these arched roofs. let us remember that above them is the platform of the Temple area."

The artifacts may be the first physical evidence of human activity at the Temple Mount—also known as Solomon's Temple—in that time.

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Israeli Antiquity Authority archeologist Annete Nagar shows the 2,000-year-old Second Temple period drainage tunnel under Jerusalem's Old City at the west side of the Jewish Wailing Wall on January 25, 2011. Israeli archaeologists have finished work, which started in 2004, on the tunnel that starts at a site near the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound inside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, officials said. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)
Religious leaders do not allow archaeological excavations on Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites for Judaism and Islam. The site, known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is now covered by Islam's Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.
The earliest source of information on the First Temple is the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament). According to the biblical sources, the temple was constructed under King Solomon during Israel's period of united monarchy. This puts the date of its construction in the mid-10th century BCE. Some scholars have speculated that a Jebusite sanctuary may have previously occupied the site. During the kingdom of Judah, the temple was dedicated to Yahweh, the God of Israel and is said to have housed the Ark of the CovenantRabbinic sources state that the First Temple stood for 410 years and, based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah, place construction in 832 BCE and destruction in 422 BCE (3338 AM), 165 years later than secular estimates.
The following is a summary of the history according to Book of Samuel and Book of Kings, with notes on the variations to this story in the later Book of Chronicles.
The Mishkan (dwelling place) of the god of Israel, was originally the portable shrine called the Ark of the Covenant, which was placed in the Tabernacle tent. King David, having unified all Israel, brought the Ark to his new capital, Jerusalem, intending to build there a temple in order to house the Ark in a permanent place. David purchased a threshing-floor for the site of the Temple (1 Chronicles 21–22), but then Yahweh told him that he would not be permitted to build a temple. The task of building therefore passed to David's son and successor, Solomon1 Kings 6:1–381 Kings Chapter 7, and Chapter 8 describe the construction and dedication of the Temple under Solomon.
King Solomon requested the aid of King Hiram of Tyre to provide both the quality materials and skilled craftsmen. During the construction, a special inner room, named in Hebrew Kodesh Hakodashim (Holy of Holies), was prepared to receive and house the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 6:19); and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark—containing the Tablets of Stone—was placed therein (1 Kings 8:6–9).
The exact location of the First Temple is unknown: it is believed to have been situated upon the hill which forms the site of the 1st century Second Temple and present-day Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock is situated. However, two other, slightly different sites have been proposed on this same hill: one places the stone altar at the location of the rock which is now beneath the gilded dome, with the rest of the temple to the west. The Well of Souls was, according to this theory, a pit for the remnants of the blood services of the korbanot. The other theory places the Holy of Holies atop this rock. Still another location has recently been proposed between the Dome of the Rock and the gilded dome, based on orientation to the eastern wall, drainage channels, orientation of the platform stones, and the location of a possible Boaz pillar base.[6]
2 Chronicles 12:9, and 1 Kings 14:26 describe the Sack of Jerusalem by the Pharaoh Shishaq, who "took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house."
2 Kings 12:4–16 describes arrangements for the refurbishment of the Temple in the time of king Jehoash of Judah in the 9th century BCE. According to 2 Kings 14:14 the Temple was looted by Jehoash of Israel in the early 8th century and again by King Ahaz in the late 8th century (2 Kings 16:8). Ahaz also installed some cultic innovations in the Temple which were abhorrent to the author of 1–2 Kings (2 Kings 16:10–18).
The Temple also figures in the account of King Hezekiah, who turned Judah away from idols; when later in the same century Hezekiah is confronted with a siege by theAssyrian king Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:23, 19:1 and the Taylor prism), Hezekiah "instead of plundering the temple treasuries... now uses the temple the way it is designed to be used — as a house of prayer (2 Kings 19:1–14).[8]
Hezekiah's son, however, is much different from his father and during the reign of Manasseh of Judah in the early and middle seventh century (2 Kings 21:4–9), Manasseh makes innovations to the Temple cult. He has been described as a Solomon who also fell into idolatry, and Manasseh is described as a king who "makes" (2 Kings 21:3–7) or "builds" (2 Kings 21:3) high places (cf. 1 Kings 11:7) (see Deuteronomy 12 for the prohibition against high place worship), yet while Solomon's idolatry was punished by a divided kingdom, Manessah's idolatry was punished by exile.[9]
King Josiah, the grandson of Manasseh, refurbished and made changes to the Temple by removing idolatrous vessels and destroying the idolatrous priesthood c. 621 BCE (2 Kings 22:3–9; 23:11–12). He also suppressed worship at altars other than the Temple's.
File:Tissot Solomon Dedicates the Temple at Jerusalem.jpg

The Temple was plundered by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem during the brief reign of Jehoiachin c. 598 (2 Kings 24:13), Josiah's grandson. A decade later, Nebuchadnezzar again besieged Jerusalem and after 30 months finally breached the city walls in 587 BCE, subsequently burning the Temple, along with most of the city (2 Kings 25). According to Jewish tradition, the Temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of Av (Hebrew calendar).
  

The Temple of Solomon – The first Temple of the Jews was called hecal Jehovah or beth Jehovah, the palace or house of Jehovah, to indicate is splendor and magnificence, and that it was intended to be the perpetual dwelling place of the Lord. It was King David who first proposed to substitute for the nomadic tabernacle a permanent place of worship for his people; but although he had made the necessary arrangements, and even collected many of the materials, he was not permitted to commence the undertaking, and the execution of the task was left to his son and successor, Solomon.

The human-made plateau covers the hill where Jews and Christians believe Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac at God's behest. Islam teaches that Abraham almost sacrificed his son Ishmael, rather than Issac, at God's behest on this site.
Muslims also believe Muhammad ascended to heaven there to receive prayers from God before returning to Earth.

The Temple of Solomon - interior

Physical Evidence
Jerusalem's district archaeologist Yuval Baruch is supervising the Muslim maintenance project.
Baruch and Sy Gitin, director of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, Ronny Reich of Haifa University, and Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University, concluded that the finds might help reconstruct the dimensions and boundaries of the Temple Mount during the First Temple Period.
The findings include animal bones; ceramic bowl rims, bases, and body sherds; the base of a juglet used to pour oil; the handle of a small juglet; and the rim of a storage jar, according to the IAA.
The bowl sherds were decorated with wheel burnishing lines characteristic of the First Temple Period.
In addition, a piece of a whitewashed, handmade object was found. It may have been used to decorate a larger object or may have been the leg of an animal figurine.
"If he built the temple during the tenth century B.C., he—according to the Bible—had to bring a lot of copper to Jerusalem, and the copper had to come from somewhere," said Amihai Mazar, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was not involved with the study.
If the Bible's accounts of David and Solomon are rooted in reality, it's reasonable to figure the copper came from the closest known source—the contemporaneous site excavated by Levy and Jordanian archaeologist Mohammad Najjar in the area the Bible calls Edom.
Historical Extremes
Seventy years ago American archaeologist Nelson Glueck declared he'd found "King Solomon's mines" around the area Levy's team is excavating.
"He was in the 'Golden Age' of biblical archaeology between the World Wars," Levy said of Glueck.  
"He literally mapped everything that he saw archaeologically to the biblical narrative."
By the mid- to late-20th century, the tide had turned: Many academics were finding no verifiable connection between the Old Testament and actual history from the 12th through 9th centuries B.C.
Some believe that any useful historical accuracy in the holy book was lost during a period of revisions that is believed to have occurred between the seventh and fourth centuries B.C.
Research beginning in the 1970s determined Glueck's mine site became active only in the 7th century BC—hundreds of years after David and Solomon would have lived.
To this day, little archaeological evidence has been found to confirm the reigns of either King David or King Solomon.
"To what extent the Bible really recalls ancient historical reality from the tenth century is hard to say," said the Hebrew University's Mazar, who has been to the site but was not involved with the study.
Striking a Balance
Levy believes his study is a model for archaeologists working in areas described in ancient, sacred texts.
He avoided over-reliance on the biblical chronology, but also did not reject it.
His team created sophisticated, three-dimensional digital recording methods to map the layout of the site and the location of all the artifacts to determine ancient settlement patterns. Organic remains were radiocarbon dated at a lab in the U.K.
According to Mazar, the science is solid.
Levy argues that archaeologists should consider wide-ranging sources of information when examining a site from historical texts and ecological information to cultural materials, anthropology, and sacred texts. "I think that with archaeology, we need to use every possible source of data at our disposal," he said. "If you were interested in ancient India, you'd want to have an objective look at the Mahabharata," he said, referring to the set of sanskrit epics thought to date back to the eighth century B.C. And Icelandic archaeologists might consider the Sagas of Iceland, written in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries A.D.
"We try to create an objective historical archaeology," Levy said.
THOMAS LEVY: Most scholars had assumed that it was traderoutes that stimulated the rise of the Edomite kingdom, but I thought that metal production and mining might be a key factor.
NARRATOR: The local people called it Khirbet en Nahas
THOMAS LEVY: Khirbet en Nahas, in Arabic, means "the ruins of copper." As you can see around us, the site is just covered with heaps of black industrial slag.
NARRATOR: Tom has been excavating this site for almost 10 years. He has shown how ancient smelters separated pure copper from the ore in which it's found, then spewed out slag, the molten waste product of the process. The layers of slag reveal an astonishing record of hundreds of years of ancient copper production.
THOMAS LEVY: I'm really excited about this. Look, right before us we have industrial-scale metal production; layer after layer, almost like a book that, page by page, would reveal the history of metal production at this site.
NARRATOR: Tom believes that metal production played a key role in the evolution of not only Edom but of ancient Israel, too. For ritual and prestige, weapons and tools, metals helped turn simple agrarian societies into kingdoms.
Ancient peoples discovered that, from blue rocks like these, a mysterious new substance could be created. When heated, it was soft and malleable; when mixed with tin, cooled and polished, it had a magical luster. The Stone Age was over. The age of metals had begun.

Tom's student, Erez Ben-Yosef, has been trying to find out how those first copper-producing techniques evolved.









Texas judge warns of rising water as Harvey brings rain
Residents of Tyler County, Texas, are being warned to 'GET OUT OR DIE' as waters rise in the Neches River and the Steinhagen Reservoir from tropical depression Harvey that continues to drop rain. The river and reservoir are about 65 miles north of Beaumont, Texas, one of the areas that was suffering the most on Wednesday with many people still in need of evacuations. Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette posted the grim warning on Facebook Wednesday evening after the floodgates on the Neches River, about 65 miles north of Beaumont, Texas, were opened to 100 feet by the US Army Corp of Engineers. Despite the fact that Harvey has been downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression, the National Hurricane Center warned of continuing flooding in parts of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. More than 32,000 people are in shelters across Texas, including one in a bowling alley-turned-shelter and at least 38 people have been killed as a result of the devastating floods as experts are describing Harvey as the worst natural disaster in US history.

Chest-high flooding sets USA record, dams on the verge of busting and 17,000 evacuees at overflowing shelters as Harvey takes Texas to the brink with official death toll of 10 feared to climb much higher


  • Nearly 20,000 people are in shelters across Texas and parts of Louisiana are now being evacuated 
  • Flood water in Houston continues to rise as US Army engineers release water from two nearby reservoirs 
  • Homes near the dams will be flooded for months as a result of the controlled release of water 
  • The storm has set a new record for the most rainfall from a single weather event with 49 inches falling in parts
  • There is no official death toll yet as emergency services are too overwhelmed with rescuing the living to look for the bodies of the dead
  • President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump flew in to Houston on Tuesday as the disaster continued 
  • More than 280,000 people are without power, hospitals are overflowing with patients and more rain is on the way 
  • To donate to the Red Cross's Hurricane Harvey relief fund, click here or call  1-800-435-766


A record 49.5 inches of rain has fallen in some parts of Texas, the highest amount to have ever fallen anywhere in the country, and experts say it is worse than Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  
Shelters across Houston are overwhelmed by 17,000 displaced residents and there are still thousands of rescues being made from the floodwater. 
The number of those killed in the disaster is not yet known, with emergency services focusing their efforts on rescuing the living instead of recovering any bodies, but the reality of the devastation is growing increasingly grave.  At least 11 are dead but it is likely that number will rise as the floods recede and more victims are found.
The storm is still thundering on off the coast of Texas and is making its way towards Louisiana where evacuations are already underway in preparation for its wrath. 
It is expected to make landfall in the town of Cameron Parish on Wednesday, dumping between four and six inches of rain on areas where 20 inches have already fallen. This will aggravate flooding in already swampy areas and threatens to burst rivers.   
The estimated cost of the storm damage is $40billion and it has crippled the country's oil trade, hampering 16 per cent of the US's refineries which are in the danger zone. 
Scroll down for videos 
An aerial view of an area in Houston near the Addicks reservoir on Tuesday shows the devastating floods from Hurricane Harvey 
An aerial view of an area in Houston near the Addicks reservoir on Tuesday shows the devastating floods from Hurricane Harvey 
Homes and businesses near the Addicks Reservoir in Houston on Tuesday as authorities race to release more water from it before it overspills, sending more floods on to the city which is already on the brink 
Homes and businesses near the Addicks Reservoir in Houston on Tuesday as authorities race to release more water from it before it overspills, sending more floods on to the city which is already on the brink 
An aerial view of downtown Houston shows the devastating flooding on Tuesday as the water levels continue to rise 
An aerial view of downtown Houston shows the devastating flooding on Tuesday as the water levels continue to rise 
An area near the Addicks Reservoir on Tuesday. Homes near the dam will be flooded for months as a result of a controlled release of its water which the US Army Corps of Engineers was forced to carry out on Monday to avoid the dam from failing 
An area near the Addicks Reservoir on Tuesday. Homes near the dam will be flooded for months as a result of a controlled release of its water which the US Army Corps of Engineers was forced to carry out on Monday to avoid the dam from failing 
Cars at a dealership in Houston float are almost entirely submerged in water as the flood levels continue to rise on Tuesday 
Cars at a dealership in Houston float are almost entirely submerged in water as the flood levels continue to rise on Tuesday 
Rescue efforts are ongoing in Texas where floods continue to wreak havoc on Houston and where almost 20,000 are taking shelter in refuges 
Rescue efforts are ongoing in Texas where floods continue to wreak havoc on Houston and where almost 20,000 are taking shelter in refuges 
Residents carry children on their backs and hold their belongings above their heads on Tuesday as they flee their home near the Addicks reservoir which is on the verge of over spilling 
Rescue efforts are still underway with hundreds of people being removed from their homes in high water trucks and boats 
People have been forced to use kayaks and small boats to navigate their way through the floods in Houston 
People have been forced to use kayaks and small boats to navigate their way through the floods in Houston 
Men use jet skies to rescue stranded residents in Houston and tow them to safety as the flooding from Harvey continues
Men use jet skies to rescue stranded residents in Houston and tow them to safety as the flooding from Harvey continues
Volunteers on boats toe people on rubber rings (left) to safety as a man carries a woman through the floods (right)
Volunteers on boats toe people on rubber rings (left) to safety as a man carries a woman through the floods (right)
Volunteers on boats toe people on rubber rings (left) to safety as a man carries a woman through the floods (right) 
Michael Brown, the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, gave a bleak description of the storm on Tuesday.
'There are several factors that make it worse than Katrina. For one, there is the scope of the flooding. Harris County and the surrounding areas are so saturated.
'Also, the amount of damages will continue to grow. There will be mold and structural damages adding up,' he told The Houston Chronicle.
On Tuesday, the Governor of Louisiana said it would welcome victims from Texas into its own shelters. Storm evacuations have begun in the Lake Charles region of the state - where thousands were killed and rendered homeless by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 
Brazoria County - a suburb south of Houston - issued this dramatic warning on Tuesday morning as the levees of the Brazos river burst in Columbia Lakes
Brazoria County - a suburb south of Houston - issued this dramatic warning on Tuesday morning as the levees of the Brazos river burst in Columbia Lakes
A state of emergency has been declared in Louisiana in anticipation of the storm.  
There are more than 9,000 people in one shelter in Texas - the George R. Brown Center - and it is still taking people in need. 
Churches have opened their doors to people in need and there are countless residents taking shelter in the homes of friends and well-wishers.  
On Monday, hospitals asked for trained nurses to volunteer at their centers. 
As Houston struggles with the storm's aftermath, help from other states and cities is pouring in. 
One Michigan-based company has donated 22,000 kayaks to help residents get around as the flood waters cease to drain.
On Monday night, 11 people had to be rescued after one private boat of volunteers capsized. They were all rescued by the Houston Fire Department and none have serious injuries. 
Major Houston prisons have been evacuated to save inmates from the floods. Six thousand prisoners have been bused to other correctional facilities across the state. 
At 6.45am on Tuesday, the National Weather Service revealed that rain was still falling to the east of Houston at a rate of 2 inches per hour. 
Even in homes which are not flooded, residents are running out of food and water and some cannot safely make their way to grocery stores. 
President Trump waves a Texas flag as he visits communities in Corpus Christi on Tuesday 
President Trump waves a Texas flag as he visits communities in Corpus Christi on Tuesday 
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive in Texas on Tuesday as the city continues to struggle under the floods
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive in Texas on Tuesday as the city continues to struggle under the floods
President Trump and Melania Trump left the White House on Tuesday morning in less practical outfits 
President Trump and Melania Trump left the White House on Tuesday morning in less practical outfits 
A satellite image shows Hurricane Harvey covering Louisiana on Tuesday morning as it moves away from Texas 
A satellite image shows Hurricane Harvey covering Louisiana on Tuesday morning as it moves away from Texas 
There are 17,000 people in shelters across Texas and more will flock to them as the disaster continues to unfold. Above, the George R. Brown Convention Center on Tuesday morning where 9,000 people are taking shelter 
There are 17,000 people in shelters across Texas and more will flock to them as the disaster continues to unfold. Above, the George R. Brown Convention Center on Tuesday morning where 9,000 people are taking shelter 
People line up for food at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Texas on Tuesday morning after spending the night. There are 17,000 people at shelters across Texas and more are expected to need cover in the coming days
People line up for food at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Texas on Tuesday morning after spending the night. There are 17,000 people at shelters across Texas and more are expected to need cover in the coming days
A woman naps on a chair while others sleep on the ground at the expansive shelter where hundreds are taking cover 
A woman naps on a chair while others sleep on the ground at the expansive shelter where hundreds are taking cover 
Thousands of people spent the night in shelters across Texas on Monday after being rendered homeless by the storm. A mother cradles a baby (above) at the George R. Brown Convention Center 
Thousands of people spent the night in shelters across Texas on Monday after being rendered homeless by the storm. A mother cradles a baby (above) at the George R. Brown Convention Center 
A man is searched by a police officer before being allowed in to the George R. Convention Center. Everyone is searched before going inside to prevent weapons being brought in 
A man is searched by a police officer before being allowed in to the George R. Convention Center. Everyone is searched before going inside to prevent weapons being brought in 
Mark Ocosta feeds his baby Aubrey at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Tuesday 
Mark Ocosta feeds his baby Aubrey at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Tuesday 
Two-year-old Malachia Medrano sleeps at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, on Monday night 
Two-year-old Malachia Medrano sleeps at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, on Monday night 
Capt Martha Nigrelle of the US Army National Guard enjoys a chicken wing in the flood water while taking a break from saving stranded residents 
Capt Martha Nigrelle of the US Army National Guard enjoys a chicken wing in the flood water while taking a break from saving stranded residents 
A woman and children are pushed through the storm in a kiddie pool by relatives as scores more try to escape the floods 
A woman and children are pushed through the storm in a kiddie pool by relatives as scores more try to escape the floods 
Andrew Brennan, a volunteer from Louisiana, drags a woman and her child to safety on board an inflatable raft 
Andrew Brennan, a volunteer from Louisiana, drags a woman and her child to safety on board an inflatable raft 
A woman is wheeled in to a shelter on a stretcher in Houston after being evacuated from her home on Tuesday 
A woman is wheeled in to a shelter on a stretcher in Houston after being evacuated from her home on Tuesday 
81-year-old Ramona Bennett is carried by Texas Army National Guardsmen Sergio Esquivel (L) and Ernest Barmore (R) after being evacuated from her home in Pine Forest Village
81-year-old Ramona Bennett is carried by Texas Army National Guardsmen Sergio Esquivel (L) and Ernest Barmore (R) after being evacuated from her home in Pine Forest Village
A handout image from the Texas Military Department shows the National Guard making its way through a boarded up street 
A handout image from the Texas Military Department shows the National Guard making its way through a boarded up streetDallas is preparing super shelters for thousands of displaced residents. On Monday afternoon, military planes transported the first evacuees to the Lively Point Youth Center in Irving. 
The space has capacity for about 200 evacuees and the shelter will be run by the Red Cross and City of Irving employees.
The city's emergency management coordinator said they are planning for the shelters to run 'long term'. 
Evacuees and those working the shelters have and will be vetted through criminal background checks.  
The City of Dallas is also planning to host more than 5,000 evacuees in a shelter at the convention center.
The President declared at a press conference Monday afternoon that the nation will emerge bigger, better and stronger than ever after the storm that's ransacking the Gulf.  
The Texas Military Department rescues people on kayaks on Tuesday as they continue to evacuate people from their homes  
The Texas Military Department rescues people on kayaks on Tuesday as they continue to evacuate people from their homes  
Texas National Guard evacuates families from Pine Forest Village on Tuesday morning 
Texas National Guard evacuates families from Pine Forest Village on Tuesday morning 

'We ask God for his wisdom and strength. We will get through this,' Trump said. 'The rebuilding will begin. And in the end it will be something very special.'
The U.S. president said residents of the region have shown incredible teamwork in a time of tragedy.
'We are one American family. We hurt together, we struggle together. And believe me, we endure together,' Trump proclaimed. 'We are one family. To the people of Texas and Louisiana, we are 100 percent with you. ' 
Meanwhile, rescue efforts are in full swing in Houston and other areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey, which is slowly heading back towards the Gulf of Mexico and continues to drop heavy rains on the Houston and Galveston areas.
The National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm is expected to drift offshore through Tuesday before going in a 'slow northeastward motion', even bringing heavy rains to Louisiana.  
At the same time, the Coast Guard has been receiving more than 1,000 calls an hour, US Coast Guard Lt Mike Hart said Monday.  
Evacuees are helped to dry land after their homes were inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Houston
Evacuees from Dickinson, Texas, board an airplane at Scholes International Airport on Monday in Galveston, Texas. Texas Air National Guard planes took evacuees to cities, including Dallas, where they can stay in shelters
Oscar Galindo, Donato Galindo, 2, Oscar Galindo, 11, Andre Galindo, 9, and Maria Rodriguez relax while taking shelter at the George R Brown Convention Center on Monday in Houston, after living inside a car since Saturday after the rain from the Tropical Storm Harvey flooded their home in Dickinson
Genice Gipson (right) comforts her lifelong friend, Loretta Capistran (left), outside of Capistran's apartment complex in Refugio, Texas, on Monday. 'We got to be strong, baby,' Gipson told Capistran
Texas Governor Greg Abbott looks over destroyed stores in Rockport during a tour of areas damaged by Hurricane Harvey, on Monday
Texas Governor Greg Abbott looks over destroyed stores in Rockport during a tour of areas damaged by Hurricane Harvey, on Monday
A view of Rockport Donuts, local restaurant serving food to residents and aid workers, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas
A view of Rockport Donuts, local restaurant serving food to residents and aid workers, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas
'Today alone, the Coast Guard has rescued over 3,000 people,' he said. 'That includes both air rescues and rescues using boats.' 
Texas Governor Greg Abbott visited some of the devastated areas Monday before he gave an update on the aftermath of the storm in a press conference.
'A Texas-sized storm requires a Texas-sized response, and that is exactly what the state will provide,' he said.
'While we have suffered a great deal, the resiliency and bravery of Texan's spirits is something that can never be broken. As communities are coming together in the aftermath of this storm, I will do everything in my power to make sure they have what they need to rebuild.' FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, estimates that 30,000 will be in need of shelter by the time the storm passes and there is already an estimated $40billion in damage. The agency also estimates that more than 450,000 people are likely to seek federal aid. 
FEMA has around $3billion in its disaster relief fund but the sum is dwindling. 
At a press conference mid-morning, Mayor Sylvester Turner pleaded for help from other cities and plugged charity relief funds to care for the thousands of Houston residents in crisis. 
Two major dams which sit to the east of the city are being gradually drained by the army to stop them from overflowing. 
The Addicks and Barker Reservoirs are both dangerously close to their capacities. With more rain on the way, US Army experts are racing the storm to release water from each dam. 
Evacuees in Houston make their way to dry land after leaving their homes that were inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey
This aerial photo shows a view of damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey on Monday in Corpus Christi, Texas
Todd Witherington searches his trailer that was overturned by the effects of Hurricane Harvey on Monday in Aransas Pass, Texas
This house in Bayside, Texas, was destroyed after Hurricane Harvey hit Bayside, Texas
This house in Bayside, Texas, was destroyed after Hurricane Harvey hit Bayside, Texas
Debris lies on the ground near homes in the Key Allegro subdivision of Rockport, Texas on Monday
An apartment unit sits completely destroyed from Hurricane Harvey in Refugio, Texas on Monday
Todd Witherington searches his trailer that was overturned by the effects of Hurricane Harvey on Monday in Aransas Pass, Texas
Dead livestock lie on the ground in the wake of Hurricane Harvey on Monday in Bayside, Texas
This photo shows The First Baptist Church roof after it was peeled off by Hurricane Harvey in Refugio, Texas, on Monday
This aerial photo shows a view of damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey on Monday in Corpus Christi, Texas
A truck navigates a road flooded with rain water, remnants of Hurricane Harvey, on Monday in Houston
A boy is lifted from a rescue truck on a street at the east Sam Houston Tollway
US and Texas flags fly in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Texas on Monday
Aerial footage shows the floods in Rockport, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey on Sunday (right) and before (left)
Aerial footage shows the floods in Rockport, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey on Sunday (right)
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Aerial footage shows the floods in Rockport, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey on Sunday (right) and before (left) 
Interstate 45 Highway in Houston in 2005
Interstate highway 45 in Houston on
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Interstate 45 Highway in Houston in 2005 (left) and on Sunday (right) after the Hurricane Harvey floods swept the city 
The theatre district shown under normal weather conditions
The threatre district of Houston was entirely flooded on Sunday
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The theater district is shown above in ordinary conditions (left) and on Sunday (right). The total damage of Hurricane Harvey has been estimated as $40billion 
Another view of Houston's theater district taken on an ordinary day (left) and on Sunday (right) as water flooded the city
Another view of Houston's theater district taken on an ordinary day (left) and on Sunday (right) as water flooded the city
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 Another view of Houston's theater district taken on an ordinary day (left) and on Sunday (right) as water flooded the city 
The colorful bridges above highway 59 towered over a bleak scene on Sunday (right), with large portions of the road under water
The colorful bridges above highway 59 towered over a bleak scene on Sunday (right), with large portions of the road under water
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The colorful bridges above highway 59 towered over a bleak scene on Sunday (right), with large portions of the road under waterHowever as the storm moved further inland on Saturday and Saturday, floods - the likes of which the city has never before seen - swept through. 
The city woke up to a water world and many, with no alternative, swam to safety or climbed in to rescue boats. 
Now, many are trapped in their homes with no way out. They have been left to wait for rescue boats but the situation is bleak. 
Another view of the theater district shows it completely submerged in water
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Another view of the theater district shows it dry (left) before the storm and completely submerged in water (right) afterwards
An aerial view of downtown Houston (left) and the same view after the Hurricane Harvey floods (right)
An aerial view of downtown Houston (left) and the same view after the Hurricane Harvey floods (right)
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An aerial view of downtown Houston (left) and the same view after the Hurricane Harvey floods (right)
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 A home in the area of Cottage Grove, Houston, before and after the Hurricane Harvey floods swept through on Saturday 
The coastal town of Rockport was spared severe flooding but was battered by 130mph winds on Friday night and Saturday morning
Rockport, Texas, shows the devastation if Hurricane Harvey after the town was battered by 130mph winds
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The coastal town of Rockport was spared severe flooding but was battered by 130mph winds on Friday night and Saturday morning 
In Rockport, Texas, 130mph winds removed the dome roof of this building and battered the rest of its shell
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In Rockport, Texas, 130mph winds removed the dome roof of this building and battered the rest of its shell'The goal is rescue. That's the major focus for the day. We want to focus on getting them out of their homes or whatever their stressful situation may be,' he said. 
With 911 operation centers inundated, panicked residents turned to social media to be saved. 
They shared pictures of frightened children cowering on kitchen work tops as water covered the floors of their homes. 
Heartbreaking photographs from nursing homes showed elderly residents floating around in their wheelchairs and hospital beds. President Trump is scheduled to visit Texas on Tuesday. 
As the devastation continues to unfold, authorities are now turning their attention to fundraising efforts. 
The Red Cross has launched a designated relief fund (which can be found here) and there will be a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund organized by the City of Houston. 
Celebrities shared their thoughts and prayers for the city's residents en masse but were taken to task by actor Kevin Hart who, after pledging $25,000 to relief funds, called on a number of stars including Jay Z, Beyonce, Jerry Seinfeld and Justin Timberlake, to make donations.  

They had just crossed a bridge in Houston when their van was swept away by strong flood-water currents. Devy Salvidar, 16, also died
Dominic Salvidar, 14, was also killed

They had just crossed a bridge in Houston when their van was swept away by strong flood-water currents. Devy Saldivar (left), 16, and her brother Dominic (right), 14, also died
Their great-grandparents Manuel and Belia Saldivar (pictured), aged 81 and 83, respectively, also drowned. The driver - the children's great-uncle - survived the accident
Their great-grandparents Manuel and Belia Saldivar (pictured), aged 81 and 83, respectively, also drowned. The driver - the children's great-uncle - survived the accident
He was able to escape as water rushed in to the vehicle but the others could not and he watched as they perished in the water, other relatives said. 
The official death toll on Saturday was two - meaning authorities have so far been able to confirm two deaths. They are inundated with crisis situations, however and are therefore redirecting attention to rescuing people who are trapped.
This makes it difficult to deliver an exact number but the total was reported as five on Sunday. 
The family's deaths bring this to 11.  

Startling before and after photographs reveal the devastating floods in Houston as Hurricane Harvey swamps the city and promises to do even more damage with another 50inches of rain this week


  • Hurricane Harvey has left thousands homeless in Houston with more than 5,000 people currently in shelters
  • The number was expected to rise as more rescues were carried out across the Texan city on Monday morning
  • Another 50 inches of rain is set to fall over the coming days which will exasperate the catastrophe 
  • System is expected to stay over water with 45 mph winds for 36 hours, then head back inland Wednesday
  • Two major dams 20 miles outside of the city are being drained, sending more water cascading into homes
  • Despite the unfolding disaster, the mayor has still not issued a mandatory evacuation order across the city
  • Scores of panicked residents are taking to social media to beg for help after becoming stranded in houses
  • 911 operators are stretched to their limit - on Sunday there was a backlog of 150 calls at any given time 
  • Fundraising efforts by the Red Cross are underway and celebrities are donating thousands to relief funds 
  • In total, 11 people are feared dead across the entire state as a result of the storm, including a family of six
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott has deployed the entire National Guard of 12,000 to rescue stranded citizens 
Huge swathes of the city now sit underwater as flood water continues to rush through its streets. 
Thousands are without homes, even more have lost power and 11 people are feared dead across the entire state as a result of the storm. 
There is no respite on the horizon, with another 50 inches of rain scheduled to land over the course of the week. 
Harvey increased slightly in strength Monday as it drifted back over the warm Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters expect the system to stay over water with 45 mph winds for 36 hours and then head back inland east of Houston sometime Wednesday. The system will then head north and lose its tropical strength. 
Many residents have been left no choice but to wait in their homes to be rescued but emergency services have been pushed to the limit. 911 operators are having to choose between life-fearing callers and panicked residents are clambering to their roofs to wave towels in the hope that someone will rescue them. 
Here, in a collection of photographs taken around the city before and after the storm hit, the scope of the damage is laid bare. 
There were 5,500 people in shelters on Monday morning and 911 operators had responded to 75,000 calls alone by 10.30am. 
More than 2,000 people have been rescued from the flood water and at any given time, there is a 15 person backlog for 911 calls. 
FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, estimates that 30,000 will be in need of shelter by the time the storm passes and there is already an estimated $40billion in damage.   
Aerial footage shows the floods in Rockport, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey on Sunday (right) and before (left)
Aerial footage shows the floods in Rockport, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey on Sunday (right)
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Aerial footage shows the floods in Rockport, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey on Sunday (right) and before (left) 
Interstate 45 Highway in Houston in 2005
Interstate highway 45 in Houston on
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Interstate 45 Highway in Houston in 2005 (left) and on Sunday (right) after the Hurricane Harvey floods swept the city 
The theatre district shown under normal weather conditions
The threatre district of Houston was entirely flooded on Sunday
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The theater district is shown above in ordinary conditions (left) and on Sunday (right). The total damage of Hurricane Harvey has been estimated as $40billion 
Another view of Houston's theater district taken on an ordinary day (left) and on Sunday (right) as water flooded the city
Another view of Houston's theater district taken on an ordinary day (left) and on Sunday (right) as water flooded the city
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 Another view of Houston's theater district taken on an ordinary day (left) and on Sunday (right) as water flooded the city 
The colorful bridges above highway 59 towered over a bleak scene on Sunday (right), with large portions of the road under water
The colorful bridges above highway 59 towered over a bleak scene on Sunday (right), with large portions of the road under water
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The colorful bridges above highway 59 towered over a bleak scene on Sunday (right), with large portions of the road under water
It will stop an uncontrollable wave of water from rushing through homes.
The total cost of the damage has been put at $40 billion and FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has warned it will be take years for the city and coastal towns to recover.
As the situation became more grave, criticism of Mayor Turner's decision not to evacuate the city grew.   
When the storm began on Friday, Houston was not immediately hit. It was safe from the battering winds which tore apart towns on the coast and many felt confident enough to remain in their homes. 
However as the storm moved further inland on Saturday and Saturday, floods - the likes of which the city has never before seen - swept through.  
Another view of the theater district shows it completely submerged in water
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Another view of the theater district shows it dry (left) before the storm and completely submerged in water (right) afterwards
An aerial view of downtown Houston (left) and the same view after the Hurricane Harvey floods (right)
An aerial view of downtown Houston (left) and the same view after the Hurricane Harvey floods (right)
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An aerial view of downtown Houston (left) and the same view after the Hurricane Harvey floods (right)
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 A home in the area of Cottage Grove, Houston, before and after the Hurricane Harvey floods swept through on Saturday 
The coastal town of Rockport was spared severe flooding but was battered by 130mph winds on Friday night and Saturday morning
Rockport, Texas, shows the devastation if Hurricane Harvey after the town was battered by 130mph winds
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The coastal town of Rockport was spared severe flooding but was battered by 130mph winds on Friday night and Saturday morning 
A home in Cottage Grove which is among flooded areas in Houston before (left) and after (right). There is still no mandatory evacuation order in place for the city
A home in Cottage Grove which is among flooded areas in Houston
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A home in Cottage Grove which is among flooded areas in Houston before (left) and after (right). There is still no mandatory evacuation order in place for the city 
In Rockport, Texas, 130mph winds removed the dome roof of this building and battered the rest of its shell
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In Rockport, Texas, 130mph winds removed the dome roof of this building and battered the rest of its shell
The city woke up to a water world and many, with no alternative, swam to safety or climbed in to rescue boats. 
Now, many are trapped in their homes with no way out. They have been left to wait for rescue boats but the situation is bleak. 
Oliver Simpson, 35, a father of four from west Houston, is stuck in his home with his children. He told DailyMail.com on Monday: 'It's horrible. I feel helpless - sitting with no power and just waiting to see what happens. And we have it so much better than many others.
'I have a neighbor who had a tree fall on his garage, it went across a gas line. There is a gas leak and despite calls to 911 still no one been out. That was at 4am this morning.
'To be clear, authorities are doing everything they can [there are] just many people in far worse situation than us.' 

WHY HOUSTON IS PRONE TO FLOODS 

Though the most severe, Hurricane Harvey's floods are not the first to ever torture the city of Houston. 
Less extreme flooding was seen in 2001 with Tropical Storm Allison, in 2015 on Memorial Day and on Tax Day last year. 
The city is predominantly flat and sits little above sea level - 50 feet above in the center and 40 feet above in some downtown suburbs to be exact.
This makes it easier for water from heavy rainfall to gather on the ground.
When the bayous flood, the freeways act as an unofficial flood control system. Once water spills over them, it pours in to residential streets and rises from there.  Mayor Turner is now asking anyone with a boat to help with the rescue efforts. Many Texans responded bravely to his call to arms and were out in force on Saturday saving vulnerable neighbors and strangers from the floods. 
'The goal is rescue. That's the major focus for the day. We want to focus on getting them out of their homes or whatever their stressful situation may be,' he said. 
With 911 operation centers inundated, panicked residents turned to social media to be saved. 
They shared pictures of frightened children cowering on kitchen work tops as water covered the floors of their homes. 
Heartbreaking photographs from nursing homes showed elderly residents floating around in their wheelchairs and hospital beds. President Trump is scheduled to visit Texas on Tuesday. 
As the devastation continues to unfold, authorities are now turning their attention to fundraising efforts. 
The Red Cross has launched a designated relief fund (which can be found here) and there will be a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund organized by the City of Houston. 
Celebrities shared their thoughts and prayers for the city's residents en masse but were taken to task by actor Kevin Hart who, after pledging $25,000 to relief funds, called on a number of stars including Jay Z, Beyonce, Jerry Seinfeld and Justin Timberlake, to make donations.  
To donate to the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief fund, click here or call 1-800-435-7669. 
Good Samaritans have come out in force and, in some cases, from other states.Alexandre Jorge evacuates Ethan Colman from his home in Houston on Monday
Alexandre Jorge evacuates Ethan Colman from his home in Houston on Monday
Jose Garcia carries Heidi, his German Shepherd, to safety after fleeing their home in Houston on Monday 
Jose Garcia carries Heidi, his German Shepherd, to safety after fleeing their home in Houston on Monday 
The pair hitched a ride on Murphy Fire Department's Todd Herrington's boat on Monday morning 
The pair hitched a ride on Murphy Fire Department's Todd Herrington's boat on Monday morning 
A family uses toys to safely push a young relative through water as they carry umbrellas after fleeing their home in Houston 
A family uses toys to safely push a young relative through water as they carry umbrellas after fleeing their home in Houston 
Residents flee their homes in Houston on Monday as flood waters continue to rise in parts of the city 
Residents flee their homes in Houston on Monday as flood waters continue to rise in parts of the city 
Residents hitch a ride on a construction vehicle with children hiding inside next to the driver to try to stay warm 
Residents hitch a ride on a construction vehicle with children hiding inside next to the driver to try to stay warm 
Some residents maintained their smiles despite the treacherous conditions and waved for news photographers as they fled their homes 
Some residents maintained their smiles despite the treacherous conditions and waved for news photographers as they fled their homes 
New mother Shardea Harrison watches over her three-week-old baby as she is rescued from her home by Dean Mize and Jason Legnon 
New mother Shardea Harrison watches over her three-week-old baby as she is rescued from her home by Dean Mize and Jason Legnon 
Houston Fire Department's Dive Team power through flood water in a motor boat looking for people who need to be saved
Houston Fire Department's Dive Team power through flood water in a motor boat looking for people who need to be saved
Apartment residents flee their home in North Braeswood Boulevard as the flood waters continue to rise on Monday 
Apartment residents flee their home in North Braeswood Boulevard as the flood waters continue to rise on Monday 
Two men carry their belongings across a flooded road after fleeing their apartment in North Braeswood Boulevard on Monday 
Two men carry their belongings across a flooded road after fleeing their apartment in North Braeswood Boulevard on Monday 
Volunteer Dean Mize holds on to two frightened and soaking children as he and his friend Jason Lengon rescue more stranded residents on their boat 
Volunteer Dean Mize holds on to two frightened and soaking children as he and his friend Jason Lengon rescue more stranded residents on their boat 
Belinda Penn carries her two dogs from a boat after being rescued from their home in Houston on Sunday 
Belinda Penn carries her two dogs from a boat after being rescued from their home in Houston on Sunday 

FAMILY OF 6 'DROWNS IN THEIR VAN TRYING TO ESCAPE'

Six members of the same family died by drowning in their van as they tried to escape Harvey's floods on Saturday, according to other members of the family.
KHOU reports that the victims - four children under the age of 16 and their grandparents - were traveling in a van being driven by their great uncle near Greens Bayou when they ran into trouble.

Six members of a family - including Xavier Salvidar, 8, and siblings and great-grandparents - died in the Hurricane Harvey floods Monday

Daisy Salvidar, 6, also died in the accident
Six members of a family - including Xavier Saldivar (left), 8, and his sister Daisy (right), 6, as well as their siblings and great-grandparents - died in the Hurricane Harvey floods Monday

They had just crossed a bridge in Houston when their van was swept away by strong flood-water currents. Devy Salvidar, 16, also died

Dominic Salvidar, 14, was also killed
They had just crossed a bridge in Houston when their van was swept away by strong flood-water currents. Devy Saldivar (left), 16, and her brother Dominic (right), 14, also died
Their great-grandparents Manuel and Belia Saldivar (pictured), aged 81 and 83, respectively, also drowned. The driver - the children's great-uncle - survived the accident
Their great-grandparents Manuel and Belia Saldivar (pictured), aged 81 and 83, respectively, also drowned. The driver - the children's great-uncle - survived the accident
He was able to escape as water rushed in to the vehicle but the others could not and he watched as they perished in the water, other relatives said. 
The official death toll on Saturday was two - meaning authorities have so far been able to confirm two deaths. They are inundated with crisis situations, however and are therefore redirecting attention to rescuing people who are trapped.
This makes it difficult to deliver an exact number but the total was reported as five on Sunday. 
The family's deaths bring this to 11.  As the kind-hearted rushed to save strangers from rising waters, a small crop of evil, opportunist scammers popped up. 
One viral social media post for distressed residents advised anyone seeking the help of emergency services to call a phone number DailyMail.com is not publishing. The phone number led vulnerable callers to Foremost, a private insurance company. 
There have been four arrests for looting in Houston so far and more disruption is feared. 
Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara, who are Houston residents, escaped the disaster and are in Maine. They released a statement on Monday expressing their gratitude for the emergency services. 
'Barbara and I are in Maine but our hearts are in Houston. 
'We are praying for all of our fellow Houstonians and Texans affected by Harvey, and truly inspired by the flotilla of volunteers — Points of Light all — who are answering the call to help their neighbors. 
'We salute them, the first responders, and the local elected officials for their grit and determination in the face of this extraordinary storm. This we know: Houston, and Texas, will come together and rebuild,' they said. 
FEMA has advised that 30,000 people will be displaced and in need of shelter. 
At a news conference, administrator Brock Long said: 'The sheltering mission is going to be a very heavy lift. 
'We need citizens to be involved. You could not draw this forecast up, you could not dream this forecast up.' 
Creative residents used kiddie pools to transport their belongings through the flood water in swamped residential streets 
Creative residents used kiddie pools to transport their belongings through the flood water in swamped residential streets 
The water level continues to rise in Houston, with more water expected to cascade through the city's streets as authorities release water from two major dams which sit on the city's outskirts 
The water level continues to rise in Houston, with more water expected to cascade through the city's streets as authorities release water from two major dams which sit on the city's outskirts