Ravaged by Harvey, Rockport faces long road to cleanup

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Rockport faces a long road to recovery as it works to rebuild after Harvey. (KTRK)

The first thing you notice when driving into Rockport? The scope of the damage. Pieces of countless lives are piled up outside homes.

Stan Hogben's garage was blown clean off its foundation. Inside sits a button to the garage door opener that will never work again.

"Could've could done without this," Hogben said.

In some cases, the homes look okay at first glance, but the devastation is evident closer inspection.

"The roof is gone, the back walls are gone. It's a total loss even though the front is still there," a worker said of a home that, from the front, appeared to be spared.

Rockport officials cannot yet say how many homes were damaged or destroyed, but they say they have plenty of supplies for victims.

The need for rebuilding, however, is still great.

"Monetary donations to our community would be very helpful," said Mike Donoho, public works director for the City of Rockport. The local chamber of commerce has established a GoFundMe account to help with relief efforts.

Hotel rooms in town are scarce, so some victims are staying at relief camps. They're willing to sleep in tents so they don't have to stay elsewhere and come back into town to continue cleanup.

It will be well beyond just a little work to get Rockport back to what it once was.

In the meantime, the city has lifted its boil water notice following state testing. A curfew remains in effect overnight.

The city's junior high and high school are closed until further notice, and students are attending schools in neighboring districts.

St. Peter's Catholic Church was decimated. The roof was ripped off by the force of the wind. Rain and debris inundated the chapel. The church was built in 1992. Now, destroyed in 2017.

Through tears, Leah Oliva, a church member and pastoral assistant at St. Peter's, reiterated, "This church is actually for the Vietnamese community. This is their home."

What happened there was nothing short of an act of God.

"It's demolished," Oliva said. The church is asking for any donations to help with rebuilding. If you'd like to help you can call (361) 729-3008 or email Father John Tran Nguyen at njtran0466@gmail.com.

ORIGINAL REPORT: 1 confirmed dead after Harvey ravages Rockport
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Ted Oberg has the latest from Rockport.

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