Having just wished each other a peaceful new year, the Vietnamese community in Texas had to send together requests for help, peace prayers for tonight and the coming days.
People can’t sleep because of the cold
Our conversation had to end quickly because the battery of Mr. Long Huynh, an employee of a pharmacy in Arlington, Texas, had almost run out of battery. On February 16 (local time), electricity in the area was reconnected for about 5 hours during the day, he took advantage of recharging his personal electronic devices and prayed for electricity again tonight.
During the day of February 15, his house lost power completely. He said he couldn’t sleep at night because it was so cold. The outdoor temperature drops to minus 13oC, the entire heating system is completely paralyzed, so even indoors and equipped with many layers of warm clothes is still not comfortable.
He honestly shared that he had to take an unpaid leave from work this week because the shop had also cut power. At home, he doesn’t have any heat or water, so he just tries to lie still and keep warm all day, and hope the time passes quickly.
Fortunately, his family can also use it thanks to the neighbor’s gas stove, so he managed to salvage the cooking. The cold winter night, the entire neighborhood was in darkness, in his own room he was only lit by a candle.
As of 22:00 on February 16 (US time), in some places, people in Texas experienced a total of 32 hours of blackouts in the freezing cold. Here and there people have struggled to find ways to heat themselves by traditional methods such as burning coal, burning firewood, burning gas furnace. Some cases have caused unfortunate accidents like coal gas poisoning and even house fires.
At night, families with children came up with the idea of bringing them into a walk-in closet for a nap. Factory closed, supermarkets and gas stations were scattered in moderation. Traffic lights turn off, road is full of snow, traffic accident is waiting.
The daily life of the people here is frozen with every snowy wind. On social networks, many comments are funny: “America 2021 is like the poor countries of the 1980s”.
Frozen but thought like… earthquake
Many homes in Texas have broken pipes, causing the ceiling to collapse, making people surprised, because this is something that has never happened before. The first reason is probably because the old Texas building standards aren’t ready for cold winters.
The direct reason, according to the experience of cold country residents, is that the water is frozen, so it is easy to break the tube. Although home repair is covered by insurance, in this weather condition, the upcoming weathering hours is too difficult for many families.
The Vietnamese groups in Houston are also actively supporting each other in the tribulation, sharing experiences in purchasing equipment, ways to keep themselves warm, safe for themselves, vehicles and homes in the cold. Many families with better conditions have left contacts on social networks, welcoming their compatriots to live, sharing food and warm clothes.
Millions of Texans spent two cold nights in terrible and life-threatening conditions. Texas Governor Greg Abbott on February 16 asked the legislature to investigate ERCOT (the Trusted Power Council of Texas) amid a massive power outage.
With the aim of preventing continuous power outages, ERCOT announced an alternate power cut from February 15 when many generating stations stopped working because of the cold. Eventually, though, the Texas grid fell into a state of uncontrollability. People wonder when the electricity will be restored?
The paralysis of wind turbines and solar power systems in blizzards has also made many people skeptical and reconsidered the effectiveness of exploiting clean energy sources. However, this seems to be a somewhat hasty conclusion.
Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University’s Center for Global Energy Policy, said: “The extreme cold is freezing the entire energy system in Texas. All energy types are inefficient in extremely cold environments, because the system is not designed to cope with weather conditions. This unusual detail “.