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Rockport Residents Who Waited Out Harvey Experienced Its Might

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

When Hurricane Harvey hit - made landfall - it devastated the coastal tourist community of Rockport. And even though town officials had ordered a mandatory evacuation, it's estimated that nearly half of the residents stayed. But there were no official shelters open. So when locals found the doors of a local elementary school unlocked, they set up their own shelter.

Mashon Hunt is 17 years old. She grew up in Rockport. And she went to that shelter, along with her 8-month-old daughter and her mother. When she got there, she pitched in with a group of young community members in overseeing the care of an estimated 250 people. She joins us now from yet another shelter in Austin, Texas, where she was evacuated early yesterday morning.

Mashon, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us.

MASHON HUNT: Thank you. It's such a pleasure.

MARTIN: How you doing?

HUNT: I'm very tired (laughter).

MARTIN: Yeah, I imagine. I want to talk about where you are now in a moment. But first, if we could back up a little bit - when you're in Rockport, which is where you're from, the storm hits. You've got to find shelter. You end up going to this elementary school. What did you find when you got there?

HUNT: We found cots that were against the hallways, you know, ready for us and everything. And then we had hardly any food, so we had to ration for a while until we could get a hold of some. So it was kind of a tight squeeze until we could actually do anything.

MARTIN: And you ended up having to help care for hundreds of people?

HUNT: Yeah. Yes. Me and - as well as a lot of other friends that I had there I had barely even met. You know, we came together as one. And we started helping people come in and make sure they were - got what they needed and they were calm. It was crazy, but it worked.

MARTIN: And people were - some of them were sick or at least had to be on oxygen?

HUNT: Yes, they were. We had a few of them come in that needed oxygen. And it was just - it was a whole - it was crazy and hectic.

MARTIN: Do you know if your house is OK?

HUNT: I honestly don't know. I live almost close to the coastline, you know. So I'm hoping I do.

MARTIN: Yeah. As we mentioned, you're in Austin now in a new shelter. How are conditions there? How are you and your baby doing?

HUNT: The conditions here are really good right now. Me and my daughter and my mother - you know, we're good. We have a place to stay and sleep. Having food and such great staff here - you know, it's a blessing just to come here and know that we were safe and taken care of.

MARTIN: What next? Do you know?

HUNT: Right now, I'm not sure.

MARTIN: That's the case for a lot of people, I imagine. Mashon Hunt is a resident of Rockport, Texas. Her town was devastated in Hurricane Harvey. She is now in a shelter along with her baby daughter and her mother in Austin, Texas. Mashon, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us this morning. Best of luck to you.

HUNT: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF FRONT COUNTRY'S "SOMETIMES IT DOES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.