SLIDESHOW: The aftermath of Harvey

Houston mayor defends decision not to issue evacuation order

Houston mayor defends decision not to issue evacuation order

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner argued on Sunday that an evacuation of Harris County, which is now seeing "unprecedented" flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, would have led to a far worse calamity for area residents. He added that the evacuation order would've had to have been "very well coordinated all the way from Houston to the destination point".

City Office of Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz says the state made a formal request to open the convention center, which should be ready by early Tuesday morning.

"Even if an evacuation order hasn't been issued by your local official, if you're in an area between Corpus Christi and Houston, you need to strongly consider evacuating", the governor said.

"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", Turner said.

"Routine noncriminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks", the agencies said.

Turner also urges people not to drive, as numerous streets and roadways in Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, are flooded Sunday.

Turner said all individuals affected by the storm should take advantage of the services offered to them. "When you combine Houston and Harris County, you literally can not put 6.5 million people on the road".

Harvey, which touched down Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane, is now a tropical storm and has been stalled out over the Houston region since Saturday evening.

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