RESCUERS were continuing to search waterlogged neighbourhoods in Houston, Texas, as officials turned their attention to finding temporary housing for those in shelters in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Authorities raised the death toll from the storm to 39 and the latest statewide damage surveys revealed the staggering extent of the destruction.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said more than 37,000 homes were heavily damaged and nearly

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7000 were destroyed, figures that did not include the tens of thousands of homes with minor damage.

About 325,000 people have already sought federal emergency aid. More than $57 million (£44m) in individual assistance has already been paid out, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials said.

Harris County FEMA director Tom Fargione said the agency was looking for ways to house those who lost their homes, with 32,000 people reported to be in shelters across Texas. Some evacuees have begun returning to their homes, but the priority is to get those who cannot do so into some form of temporary housing, Fargione said.

He added: “Right now, nothing is off the table. This is a tremendous disaster in terms of size and scope.”

The loss of power at the flood-crippled Arkema chemical plant in Crosby set off explosions and a fire

The remnants of the storm pushed deeper inland, raising the risk of flooding as far north as Kentucky.