Imelda Wreaks Havoc In Houston Ahead Of ‘Howdy Modi!’ Event
The torrential rains triggered by tropical depression Imelda have wreaked havoc in Houston, Texas, where India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address 50,000 Indian Americans at the ‘Howdy Modi!’ event on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of emergency in 13 counties in southeastern parts of the state.
Tropical Depression Imelda slammed Texas on Thursday, causing devastating flooding, power outages, prompting urgent rescues and warnings for people to stay indoors.
"This happened very quickly. It just demonstrates that in this day and time, climate change is real. We no longer have to be concerned just with a hurricane. We have to be concerned with almost any sort of weather system that can quickly evolve into a major storm and produce a great deal of rain," Abbott said.
The National Weather Service said the rainfall was winding down in areas that had been hit the hardest, but some parts of Fort Bend, Harris and Galveston counties were seeing additional 2 to 3 inches of rainfall every hour.
However, the volunteers of the 'Howdy Modi!' event are upbeat and confident that all the attendees at the sprawling NRG stadium in Houston will have an experience they will cherish all their lives.
Leading volunteer Achalesh Amar said that over 1,500 volunteers have been working round the clock to make the event a grand success. "We are going to have a fantastic programme on Sunday," he said. The mammoth event reflects the growing size, power and complexity of the Indian-American community, both in the Houston area and the US, he added.
U.S. President Donald Trump, along with a number of high-ranking US government officials—including Governors, Members of Congress and Mayors—will join Prime Minister Modi to attend the 'Howdy Modi!' event on Sunday.
"This is going to be a kind of family celebration. We want to say, 'Look at our community here! We are successful. We are strong. We have done good things for Houston!' We would like Modi to know all of this," organisers said.
Protests too are being planned against the ‘Howdy Modi!’ event. Some pro-Pakistan and anti-Kashmir billboards have also appeared at some places in Houston.
According to sources, over 10,000 people will protest the Indian government's Aug. 5 decision to end Jammu & Kashmir's special status.
Modi’s week-long U.S. visit starting Sept. 21 will see him address the United Nations General Assembly at its annual session on Sept. 27.