Texas has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, the latest worst storm to hit the US mainland for almost 12 years, and now a Houston chemical plant, owned by the speciality chemical company Arkema, is on the verge of explosion.
The facility has been flooded in Crosby, Texas and could catch fire or explode at any moment over the next few days.
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Arkema’s president and chief executive, Rich Rowe, said:
We have an unprecedented six feet of water at the plant. We have lost primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. As a result, we have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire. The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it.
The company has evacuated its staff from their plant to protect their safety and residents within a 1.5m radius of the plant have been told to leave as well.
Arkema is working with federal, state and local authorities to manage the matter.
What has happened to Texas?
Hurricane Harvey has mainly focused its destruction on Houston, however it is currently moving into Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Authorities believe an estimated 13m people will be directly affected by the storm in total. In addition, at least 30,000 homes are suspected to be destroyed by floodwaters in and around Houston.
This is because around 20trn gallons of rain has fallen in the city and its surrounding districts, causing three landfalls.
The Texas governor, Greg Abbot, has said he believes the state will need $125bn in federal funding to recover. This will make the storm the costliest in US history, surpassing Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Hurricane Harvey has affected the oil industry too
Texas is the US’s prized oil state, with more than 45 percent of the nation’s oil refining capacity based on the Gulf Coast.
Oil prices were at a three-week high ahead of the storm. It is thought it will cause a significant reduction of crude oil imports into the Texas Gulf Coast.
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How can you donate to the Hurricane Harvey relief?
If you want to donate to the disaster relief and to help the millions of people stranded by the storm, you can donate to the American Red Cross.
The charity is on the ground across the Gulf Coast helping those whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey.