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A top American lawmaker has lauded the role of the Indian-American volunteers in the relief and reconstruction work during and post hurricane Harvey in the US state of Texas. Republican Congressman Ted Poe, in a speech in the house of represnetatives, said stories of "Harvey Heroes" continue to bring people together and "make us grateful for the incredible people that we call neighbours". Poe, whose district includes northern parts of Houston in Texas, hailed Indian-Americans for opening their "homes, hearts, and wallets" to help Houston recover the catastrophic effect of the hurricane. There are many uplifting stories of those who grabbed their personal boats and set out in the waters to rescue individuals, many of whom they did not know, he said. Indian-Americans have already raised over $1.6 million. 700 Indian-American volunteers have dedicated more than 24,000 hours to their city, and together they have distributed over 28,000 meals to the locals in need, Poe said. The Congressman also highlighted how a group of Indian- Americans, led by Houstonian Jiten Agrawal, made their way through the unparalleled flooding after the hurricane to reach a student apartment complex near the University of Houston, that had been flooded and was without power. "These volunteer rescuers brought food and water to over 180 students and helped transport them back to their families and to safe locations. "We are grateful to these volunteers, some of the many 'Harvey Heroes', for helping Houstonians get through a very difficult time. They are just one of the reasons why we are 'Houston Strong'. "Our first responders answered the call time and time again.
And so did so many people whose names we may never know. For all of them, we thank them from the bottom of our hearts," Poe said. Harvey, which made landfall in Texas on August 26, was one of the most destructive storms in American history that left more than 50 people killed. Damage estimates for the hurricane vary from around USD 50 billion to well in excess of USD 100 billion, it was reported.