Weather creates deadly situation for Las Vegas' homeless - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Weather creates deadly situation for Las Vegas' homeless

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Just a few inches of rain wreaked havoc on a homeless encampment near the Rio hotel and casino. The area that is usually dry but now looks like a lake. 

"I was in tunnel two. Then, in 45 seconds, we were shin deep," said Beth, who lives in the tunnels. "You have 45 seconds that it...that [expletive] will wash your feet out from under you."

Beth describes hearing the rushing water from the rains before you see it.

She moved out of the tunnels to higher ground over the weekend.

"Forget your [expletive]...if you have to, excuse my language but forget your stuff," she said. "Get yourself out. It's very dangerous."

It's not just Beth affected by the rainy weather. Nearly 100 people seek shelter in the tunnels and call it home.

Local nonprofit Shadow of Hope rallied at the tunnel in an effort to get any remaining people out of the tunnels before it's too late. 

"Right now, we have 80 to 120 people that are now completely displaced," Robert Hoey, of Shadows of Hope, said. "We've had people get trapped before and who have even died down here before."

Sunday afternoon, firefighters rescued three people who became trapped in rushing waters.

"In this water, there is poison, glass, boulders - all kinds of things floating around that could hurt somebody," said Tim Szymanski, of Las Vegas Fire and Rescue.

According to Szymanski, the majority of water rescues are to save homeless people. 

"This water picks up momentum. It can go anywhere from 20 to 30 miles an hour," he explained. "That is like being hit by a car."

Every time it rains, these people who live in the tunnels are in danger. Unfortunately, there isn't much that can be done, according to Shadow of Hope.

"It's not so much keeping them safe as it is giving them a reason to leave these tunnels," Hoey said. 

For more information on how you can help Shadow's of Hope and their efforts to keep homeless people safe, visit their website

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