Latest: FEMA provides 17,500 hotel rooms for Harvey victims

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HOUSTON (AP) - The Latest on the aftermath of Harvey (all times local):

1:25 p.m.

A FEMA spokesman says the agency has provided around 17,500 hotel rooms currently being occupied by victims of Harvey.

Leo Skinner said Monday that the rooms are spread across Texas and the occupants include victims from across the Gulf Coast, which was devastated by the storm.

FEMA has created an emergency response center in part of the George R. Brown Convention Center, the downtown Houston building that housed around 10,000 evacuees at its peak, but is down to around 1,500 people.

A line of people waited to speak with FEMA representatives for assistance that could include up to 30 days' hotel stay and two months of help with rent in temporary housing.

But some people who have registered with the agency say they were offered hotel rooms as far away as San Antonio, a three-hour drive west. They've elected to remain in the convention center or find another place to stay for the time being.


12:20 p.m.

The Red Cross says that its officials counted 1,400 people Sunday night at the George R. Brown Convention Center, which has been turned into a shelter for evacuees from Harvey. That's down substantially from over 10,000 a few days after the storm struck.

At a second mass shelter opened after Harvey, the NRG convention center, there were 2,800 people as of Monday morning. NRG was opened last week to take some of the overflow from George R. Brown.

Many people have left shelters after they received transitional assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for temporary housing.


9:45 a.m.

Neighbors of a Houston-area chemical plant are being allowed to return home, ending an evacuation order after Harvey drenched highly combustible compounds that later exploded and caught fire.

Authorities said Monday it is now safe for residents of Crosby, Texas, to re-enter the 1.5-mile (2.4 kilometer) evacuation zone around the Arkema plant. They were forced to leave Tuesday.

Fire officials conducted a controlled burn at the plant Sunday to neutralize the remaining trailers filled with organic peroxides, which are used in plastics and paints. Three trailers had already caught fire after floodwaters consumed backup generators powering refrigeration necessary to keep the chemicals from degrading and catching fire.

Arkema says it has opened a center at Crosby High School on Monday to help residents find temporary housing and provide information on filing claims. The center is open until 5 p.m.


11:10 p.m.

Houston's mayor insists that America's fourth-largest city is "open for business," but major disasters that Harvey created are by no means resolved.

Areas are still under water, people are not yet in their homes, and the storm caused billions in damage to repair.

Mayor Sylvester Turner says much of the city is hoping to get back on track after Labor Day, and the city can function and recover at the same time.

One worry, of further explosions at a damaged chemical plant, lessened after officials carried out a controlled burn Sunday evening of highly unstable compounds at the Arkema plant in Crosby. Three trailers had previously caught fire after Harvey's floodwaters knocked out generators.

Other issues across the region: too much water still in houses, no water to drink.


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