Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

As water levels receded and search teams began checking abandoned homes for victims, Houston began a grim cleanup on Thursday and businesses began to reopen for the first time since Hurricane Harvey hit last weekend.

Previously flooded streets were lined with water-damaged furniture and roads filled with vehicles as residents went hunting for cleaning supplies, insurance estimates and repair help.

“It’s a bit overwhelming,” said John Becker as he salvaged personal items and hauled water-logged sheetrock from his home amid the hum of dehumidifiers and fans. Water that had reached 8 inches (20 cm) inside had ebbed. “We have flood insurance; we’ll do the best of it.”

See: How to help victims of Harvey >>>

Record rains and flooding from Harvey spread misery across a broad swath of the Houston metropolitan area of about 6.5 million people. Thursday brought a sense of it coming slowly back to life, however, with the city’s airports all operating again and the resumption of at least some public transportation services. (Reuters)
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Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Tattered flags fly over a pile of water-soaked items as people clean up in a flood ravaged neighborhood Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Houston. The city continues to recover from record flooding caused by Harvey. (Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Greg Ingram looks around his water-damaged home after floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey drenched the city Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Houston. (Photo: Gregory Bull/AP)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Volunteers from Performance Contractors help co-worker Cornell Beasley recover from damage to his home after torrential rains caused widespread flooding during Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey on September 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi on August 25, dumped around 50 inches of rain in and around areas of Houston and Southeast Texas. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Alma Castenda pulls her children’s artwork off the walls as she cleans up her flood-damaged home in the Verde Forest subdivision of Houston in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (Photo: Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Love sofas are sitting outside in the sun to dry off as owners start to take flooded belongings to be dried after Hurricane Harvey, Thursday, August 31, 2017 in Baytown, TX. (Photo: Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Lorenzo Salina helps a neighbor to clean a house damaged by Tropical Storm Harvey in East Houston, Texas, U.S. September 1, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Stacey House in the background talking to her mother Dianne Smith house as they cleanup after Hurricane Harvey, Thursday, August 31, 2017 in Baytown, TX. (Photo: Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Rogelio Salina takes as break as he helps a neighbor to clean a house damaged by Tropical Storm Harvey in East Houston, Texas, U.S. September 1, 2017. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Chris Gaspard (R) and Derek Pelt (L) help remove a refrigerator and other ruined items from their friend Bryan Parson’s home following flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey September 1, 2017 in Dickinson, Texas. Dickinson was hit by Hurricane Harvey extremely hard with major flooding in many areas of the city and residents there are beginning the long process of recovery from the storm. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Menion Brock and Michelle Green clean up their home, damaged by floodwaters of Tropical Storm Harvey, in the Parkway Forest subdivision of Houston, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (Photo: Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Miguel Moncado, of Oxford Contractors, guts a flood-damaged home in the Meyerland neighborhood in Houston after Hurricane Harvey on Friday Sept, 1, 2017. (Photo: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Willie Johnson, left, and his wife Loicy, clean up their flood-damaged home in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in the Verde Forest subdivision of Houston on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (Photo: Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Volunteers from Performance Contractors help co-worker Cornell Beasley recover from damage to his home after torrential rains caused widespread flooding during Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey on September 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi on August 25, dumped around 50 inches of rain in and around areas of Houston and Southeast Texas. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Stacey House looking off her balcony as her important papers and books are set to dry outside ruined by water after Hurricane Harvey, Thursday, August 31, 2017 in Baytown, TX. (Photo: Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Tyler Moody removes a mattress from a friend’s home after floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey drenched the city Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Houston. (Photo: Gregory Bull/AP)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Edward Casanova carries a chair as he helps dry out items from a friend’s house after floodwaters from Harvey drenched the city Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Houston. (Photo: Gregory Bull/AP)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

People begin the process of cleaning up the damage to their property after torrential rains caused widespread flooding during Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey on September 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi on August 25, dumped around 50 inches of rain in and around areas of Houston and Southeast Texas. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Victims of Harvey return to clean up their water-damaged homes

Debris and possessions are left on the curb as people begin the process of cleaning up the damage to their property after torrential rains caused widespread flooding during Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey on September 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi on August 25, dumped around 50 inches of rain in and around areas of Houston and Southeast Texas. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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