Journalists covering the unfolding disaster in flood-ravaged Southeast Texas are finding themselves acting as first responders, in some cases, and helping storm victims get to higher ground, find local shelters and even assisting with communications to help people locate missing family members.
A CNN reporter and his crew played just such a role for a victim of Hurricane Harvey near Rockport, Texas, who had lost everything in the catastrophic storm and was searching for his father.
Aaron Mitchell wandered into the devastation in Rockport as CNN’s Nick Valencia was doing live reports from the disaster scene. Valencia interviewed an emotional Mitchell live on the network early Monday.
Mitchell said he hasn’t had cellphone service since Thursday or Friday and had walked 12 miles from his devastated home into Rockport, trying to get to his father’s home.
“Haven't gotten ahold of anybody. If my mom and dad is watching, I'm OK," Mitchell, holding back tears, told Valencia during the televised interview
"My mom's in Oklahoma and my dad, there's no telling where my dad's at. I'm here in Rockport, waiting on you," he told CNN.
"I felt like "The Wizard of Oz," man. I was scared.”
Harvey caused a still-unfolding catastrophe in Texas, and, Mitchell, like other Texans, barely escaped the storm’s fury.
"I just lost everything I worked for. Everything. The only thing I got are the clothes on my back," a clearly stunned Mitchell told CNN.