Flooding Tragedy Strikes Two Local Indian Families

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By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: The latest round of flooding in the city from the storm over this past weekend had some tragic consequences for two area Indo-American families as both lost key adults in drowning accidents which occurred roughly around the same time and in the same part of the city.

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Funeral Services: For Suresh Talluri
VISITATION: Saturday, April 23, 2016 10A.M. – 11A.M.
Garden Oaks Funeral Home & Crematory 13430 BELLAIRE BLVD HOUSTON, TX 77083 281-530-5400


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Sunita Singh

The accidents that claimed the lives of Suresh Talluri and Sunita Singh (also called in the mainstream media by her full maiden name, Sunita Vikas Malhara) occurred at roughly 6:45am on Monday, April 18 at the north-south feeder road underpass to the Southwest Freeway at the 610 loop. By that time, the fierce downpour that dumped up to 16 inches of rain in some areas of the city had turned the underpass into an Olympic sized swimming pool which was hard to negotiate in the darkness of a stormy morning.

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Both Talluri and Singh, who were relatively new to the Houston area, drove headlong into the cold dark waters and then slowly lost control of their cars which floated away. It was not till several hours later when the pumps were able to suck water out that the cars were located with the bodies inside.

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“I received a call from Sunita at 6:47am,” recalled her anguished but angry husband Rajiv Singh, “telling me in Hindi ‘Main bohot mushkil mein hoon. Sari taraf pani hai. (I am in a lot of trouble, there’s water all around). I see the lights of cop cars.’ And then the phone went dead. I figured somehow I lost signal due to the weather or that she got busy.” Rajiv later related the incident to Channel 13 TV, calling the underpass “a death trap”.

Sunita Singh, 49, was a dedicated electrical engineer who had a PhD from Arizona State University. She worked for Bechtel in their office on Post Oak, which is where she was headed, but as the exit on 59 South was blocked off, she took the Westpark exit detour. When she turned into the underpass to get onto Post Oak, she drove into the water. Sunita had come to the US in 2006 and married Rajiv, whom she had known in college, in 2009. Both had children from previous marriages and Oshin, Sunita’s daughter is expected to join the Master’s program in Architecture at the University of Houston in the Fall.

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Suresh Talluri was around 38 years-old and had two children with his wife, Kirti and lived in Cinco Ranch in Katy. He was quite well known in the Telegu community. He was on a working visa, had worked for Transocean through Wipro and in November 2014 moved to Rowan Companies as a Senior Analyst. He was apparently on his way to work also, though details are sketchy.

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A memorial account has been created for the Talluri family at www.gofundme.com/sureshtalluri and in 15 hours has raised $62,215 of the $150,000 goal. Others want to do more, but one way for the community to show their concern is by demanding better warning signals, including flashing lights that work when the water levels have risen and automatic barriers. The Indian community can do pioneering service for the city by designing, funding and pushing City and County officials to install these all across the city.