Following the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey – which includes severe flooding, destroyed homes and many displaced residents – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has received criticism for his decision not to issue an evacuation order.
According to ABC News, Turner has responded with his defense, noting that the chaos we are witnessing now would’ve been much worse had he called for the mandatory evacuation.
"If you think the situation right now is bad, you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare. Especially when it's not planned," said Turner in a recent update from the city. He added that the evacuation order would’ve had to have been "very well coordinated all the way from Houston to the destination point."
"If you do it or attempt to do it and it's not coordinated, not done right, you are literally putting people in harm's way, and you're creating a far worse situation," he continued. Despite criticism, Turner doubled-down, noting that even though his city was prepared for a lot of incoming rain, Houston was not in Harvey’s direct path.
Turner also pointed out that due to Houston’s size and population, evacuating would’ve lead to dangerous effects. "You cannot put, in the city of Houston, 2.3 million people on the road. That is dangerous," Turner noted, suggesting that it was best for residents to remain in their homes. "When you combine Houston and Harris County, you literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road."
Hurricane Harvey’s status was reduced to a tropical storm this past Saturday. Its fury caused record rainfall levels in the Houston area and so far, three people have been reported dead.