Jaipur– The family of Nikhil Bhatia, an Indian student at the Texas A&M University who suffered grevious injuries while out swimming just as Hurricane Harvey struck and died in a hospital in Houston early this morning, is in a state of shock, a close family member said.
Bhatia, who hailed from Jaipur, died in the hospital’s ICU, where he was admitted after being closely saved from drowning.
“We came to know about it early in the morning at around 4.50-5 a.m.,” the family member told IANS.
“You can very well understand how the family must be feeling after hearing this news. Mother is all alone there in the US and father is here. He was the only child….for thr last two days we have been hearing different news about him. We were all praying and hoping that he will survive,” she added.
Bhatia, who was studying for a masters in Public Health, and another Indian student, Shalini Singh were swimming in Lake Bryan when a sudden current trigerred by the hurricane pulled them to the deeper end. Other students alerted the police and both were pulled out and rushed them to hospital in a critical condition.
Singh continues to battle for life in the ICU.
With some 200 Indian students of the University of Houston affected by floods in the wake of tropical storm Harvey, the Indian mission in the Texas city on Tuesday shared helpline numbers for worried families and relatives back in India.
“We are getting understandably a number of communications from worried friends and relatives in India seeking details about family and friends in distress in Houston due to flooding or informing us about whereabouts of friends/family who might require rescue,” Indian Consul General in Houston Anupam Ray said in a statement.
“We will do our best to help in every such case,” he said.
Ray said that for specific queries about specific individuals, Consul Ravindra Joshi can be contacted at +18322311988, adding that the normal emergency line, +17136262149, was functioning.
“In case the lines are overwhelmed please leave a voice mail and we will return the call,” he added.
As one of the most destructive storms in the US history lashed southeast Texas, forecasts have warned of still more rain, making clear that massive flooding that had turned neighbourhoods into lakes was just the start of a disaster that would take years to overcome, The New York Times reported.
So far, 10 deaths were reported with six of them in Harris county which includes Houston, the country’s fourth largest city, the report said.
On Monday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that the 200 Indian students were “surrounded by neck-deep water”.