Following Up With Houston Flood Victims After Hurricane Harvey
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Last week, we spoke with Jadot Wilson, one of the many Houston residents trapped at home due to rising floodwaters. She is 19 years old, so it won't you to know we found her on social media. She was getting worried because at the time, it didn't seem that help was coming any time soon.
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JADA WILSON: We just have to wait to be rescued, which we don't know when that would be. It could be tonight. It could be tomorrow.
MARTIN: Now, later that night, after our program went off the air, she tweeted that her family was safer than before, but many people wrote in to NPR throughout the week, worrying about how she and her family, which includes her grandmother, were doing. Now, as you might imagine, we've been trying to reach her. She's been pretty busy, but we finally did reach her. And we checked in with her earlier today. Jada, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. How are you?
WILSON: Hi. I'm so much better than we were before.
MARTIN: So the last time we talked, you and your family were waiting in - there was freezing water up to your waist. The refrigerator was floating in the kitchen. How did you finally get out of there?
WILSON: Well, what happened was we finally waved down a Coast Guard helicopter. And what they were looking for were people with disabilities and medical conditions, which none of us really had. They didn't lift any of us into the helicopter or anything. What they told us was to basically walk out of our house, up the street, trying to fight against the current that was going the opposite way of where we needed to go. And the rain was falling on - rushing onto our street, which is helping the current basically push against us.
MARTIN: So you walked through that current to get to the higher ground or get to a drier spot? That's what you all did?
WILSON: Yeah. And I'm the shortest person in my family. I'm 5 feet tall, and I don't swim very well. And so my brother, what he did was he guided us through it. And he's not much taller than I am. So yeah, well, what we were trying to do was see if we could, like, navigate through the lawns that were along side ours and grab on to any fences or gates that we could hold onto so that we wouldn't be pulled backwards because that current was very strong. My dad is a very strong man. He couldn't - he could barely start walking against it.
MARTIN: So then what happened?
WILSON: After we got through the water and got to a safer part of our neighborhood, there were other families in the neighborhood which trucks. They took us to a local banquet hall that was opened by the staff as an unofficial shelter, and we stayed there for a night. And then, after staying there for a night, we still had to get to an official shelter. So the local police department came to that banquet hall location and told us that they were going to take us to a transit center which was going to take us to Georgia Brown. And in order to do that, we had to ride in the back of a dump truck while it was still raining.
So even though we had just gotten dry, we had to go outside and get all wet and stuff again. And then after that, we made our way to Georgia Brown. The next morning, we had a family member come save us in their truck from - come rescue us from Georgia Brown. And they took us to their house. And from there, like, that's where we're staying right now.
MARTIN: Yeah. You must have been exhausted after all that.
WILSON: Oh, yeah, definitely exhausted, backbreaking. We're still trying to get, like, FEMA assistance. Like, we had to fill out an application. Something went wrong with it because we have so many family members that live in our place. And we all have personal belongings, so I don't know. It's all so complicated.
MARTIN: So you sound great, I mean, particularly given everything that you've been through. And, you know, I sure appreciate your taking the time to talk with us because you're busy. I mean, you know, we've been trying to catch up with you. I just want, you know, I don't want to put everybody's business in the street, but, like, how is everybody?
WILSON: Everyone's better. We're definitely a strong family. And we've been through so much together. And this is definitely the worst we've ever been though, but we're happy that we're alive.
MARTIN: Well, thank you so much for speaking with us. So we'll try to keep in touch with you. Will you keep in touch with us?
WILSON: Yeah, definitely, I'll try my best to.
MARTIN: All right. Well, we're thinking about you. We are so glad that folks are doing OK. And, you know, let's stay in touch.
WILSON: All right. I will.
MARTIN: All right. Take care. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.