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Hurricane Beryl Leaves Southeast Texas in Crisis: Heat, Power Outages, and Rising Death Toll

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Southeast Texas struggles with deadly heat and power outages following Hurricane Beryl. As temperatures soar, residents face food shortages, medical emergencies, and frustrations with utility companies.

Southeast Texas Faces Heat and Power Crisis Post-Hurricane Beryl

Struggles and Frustrations Mount as Residents Endure Heat and Power Outages

Southeast Texas residents are grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl, which made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on Monday. The storm has left more than 1.3 million homes and businesses without power, creating a dangerous situation as temperatures soar. The death toll has reached at least 11 in Texas and Louisiana, with additional fatalities reported due to heat-related illnesses and carbon monoxide poisoning from generator use.

Many residents are sheltering with friends or relatives who still have power, but others are unable to leave their homes. Houston City Council member Julián Ramírez highlighted the dire situation, noting that countless families have lost food due to lack of refrigeration, and many stores remain closed. Government offices, food banks, and public services are working tirelessly to distribute food to the most affected areas.

Carbon monoxide poisoning has become a significant concern, with at least two deaths reported in Harris County and over 200 emergency calls in 24 hours. A 71-year-old woman died near Crystal Beach after her oxygen machine's battery ran out and her generator failed. Authorities urge residents to check on vulnerable neighbors and loved ones using medical equipment.

Heat-Related Emergencies and Overcrowded Hospitals

Houston is experiencing 90-degree temperatures, with heat index values potentially reaching 41 degrees Celsius. This has led to a surge in heat-related medical emergencies. Hospitals and nursing homes are prioritizing essential medical equipment, but some Houston hospitals are at risk of overcrowding as they cannot discharge patients to homes without power. City officials have organized overflow beds at an indoor sports stadium to address this issue.

The region's primary utility, CenterPoint Energy, has faced criticism for its handling of the crisis. By Wednesday night, the company had restored power to 1.1 million customers and aimed to restore power to an additional 750,000 by the end of the week. However, many residents are frustrated with the perceived lack of preparedness and communication from the utility.

Senior care facilities are particularly vulnerable, with many residents relying on electrical medical devices. Ian Wu, owner of Ella Springs nursing home, expressed concerns about the lack of clarity on when power would be restored, despite being registered as a critical load customer.

Acting Governor Dan Patrick announced that FEMA assistance would help expedite recovery efforts. Cooling centers have been opened in cities along the coast, including Houston, Galveston, La Porte, and Corpus Christi, to provide relief from the heat.

Beryl has since been downgraded to a post-tropical storm, and its power is expected to continue decreasing as it moves towards Canada. However, the storm has left a trail of destruction, with at least six deaths in Texas and one in Louisiana. Efforts to restore electricity to 2.3 million homes and businesses are ongoing, with additional challenges posed by flooding and fallen trees.

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