We are currently living through Hurricane Harvey. People are asking me what they can do to help. I decided to write this hoping to let people know what is happening, what is expected to happen, and what you can do to help.
WHATS HAPPENING WITH THE STORM:
Hurricane Harvey came into our area Friday night August 25th. The rains were severe and heavy. God blessed us with solid blocks of time with little to no rain that allowed the large amounts of water to run off. The cycle of heavy rains (anywhere from 4-6″ and hour) and break from the rain lasted Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Monday has been a different story. We have not had a break in the rain today and there has been no run off. The water continues to rise. My city, as of this morning, had received over 30″ of rain since Friday night. They are projecting continued rainfall through Friday–another 4 days!
WHATS HAPPENING WITH THE PEOPLE:
Y’all this is BAD! The authorities and media have spent day telling everyone to shelter in place and stay off the roads. NOW- almost hourly they are adding areas of ‘ mandatory evacuation’ with and added “Life Threatening Flood Advisory” ( Yes- that is a real thing!) The issue with this is that all the roads are flooded and will not allow most of these people get out of their neighborhoods, much less out of the area.
My heart hurts for these people–they could easily be me. My road is flooded as are those around me.
The local shelters are amazing! They are even allowing many people to bring their pets. The problem is that most of them do not have enough food supplies to take care of those in need. They are asking for donations for food, clothing, bedding, towels, and toiletries. While the “stuff” is easy for the community to donate, the food and water is another story. With the high potential of being stuck in our homes for quite some time, the food stocks we have are needed for our family. If stores are open for us to buy supplies for the shelters, many of the roads are not. This is quite the conundrum. If we do get out to donate, the situation is so fluid that we may not make it back to our own home and then become part of those needing rescue and shelter assistance.
THOSE NEEDING RESCUE:
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have been rescued or are needing rescue. The cities have asked for all individuals with flat bottom boats to aid in the rescue process. They are also asking those in need of rescue to hang a sheet or towel from their highest window (because they anticipate water to be covering the lower ones).
The coast guard helicopters are rescuing people from their roof tops 5-10 miles from my home. People are entering their attics seeking higher ground and had to bust through their roof for rescue.
This is a scenario the authorities expect to repeat as the media is telling us that if we must enter our attics to get out of rising water, bring plenty of water and supplies to break through the roof because the rescue people cannot find you if you are in the attic.
A PEEK AT LIFE-EVERYTHING IS CONFLICTING:
People are being told that they MUST evacuate for the safety of their families, yet there are no roads available. This leaves us with the tough choice, risk being stuck on the road or stuck at home–which leads to the most safety for my family?
Newscasters tell people to stay off the roads, and go into your attic if need be, Authorities are saying evacuate and stay out of the attic because rescuers cannot find you if you are in your attic.
People have waited days for rescue and each day more people are added to the list of those needing rescue.
Entire cities of people have lost EVERYTHING. Not just one city… but 50 counties in Texas are traumatically affected. I heard that this is the largest natural disaster the US has ever experienced and the majority of the people who have lost everything do not have flood insurance–not for the lack of being responsible, but because this was never expected to happen and has never been seen before! (We are part of the homeowners who do not have flood insurance)
After days of trauma, we are all on edge. We can’t look forward to an end to this any time soon: not only because the weather is supposed to continue through the end of the week, but because recovery will take a very long time.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- pray for the storm to dissipate, weaken and move to other areas.
- Pray for breaks in the rain for the standing water to have a chance to run off.
- Pray for roads to open up so people have a chance to get to safety.
- Pray for wisdom and protection for those who are living this every minute of every day.
- pray for peace and provision for those who have lost everything.
- pray for the people who are being flooded out, first responders, shelters, and volunteers.
- Pray for financial help, physical help, and spiritual/ emotional help–this is hard!
Understand the magnitude of the area affected and the numbers of people impacted.
- They say that there has been 11 trillion gallons of rain dropped in Texas since the storm started (and there are still at least 4 more days of storms ahead).
- There are 50 counties declared disaster areas in Texas.
- Yesterday I read and estimation that in 48 hours 360 Billion gallons of rain fell in Harris county alone (that statistic is from ONE county of the 50 counties declared disaster areas.
- Texas is BIG and the flood is BIGGER than you think! To put it in to perspective, I read that the area of Texas that is flooded is the size of the entire state of Delaware!
Be informed and Share the information
- Don’t trust social media unless you know and trust the source.
- Realize that if you don’t live in Texas, your area may not be sharing what is happening.
- Share this post so others become aware of what is happening.
- If you are a blogger, write the story of what is happening so others gain a human perspective of what is happening.
- Let your church and organizations know that Texas needs immediate help and long term help.
Physical help needed once the rain stops and the roadways open
- send supplies- Texans will need food, clothing, water, hygiene items, baby items, and cleaning supplies.
- send money- find an honest donation place (don’t get scammed!) and support through there. If you have contact with a victim of Harvey who needs financial assistance, send money directly to them. They will need to cover housing, replacing items that were lost, potential of no income because of time off of work for evac and recovery
- Send gift cards- if you know someone affected, send gift cards for restaurants, Walmart, building supply places like Lowes or Home Depot, gas cards, cards to clothing stores.
- Come and help! This will be a long term recovery. There will be help needed for clean up, removing flooded items and flooring from peoples houses. Many people have lost their vehicles. If you are a mechanic who can save vehicles that have been flooded–we will need you! Once the damage has been removed from people’s homes, then help to rebuild is needed. If you have a hammer and a heart to help, if you can scrub floors–come on!
If you come, what you need to be aware of
- plan to be self sufficient. Odds are there is no place for you to stay since the residents are all displaced. Bring your own pillows, blankets, water, food, and toilet paper.
- know it probably won’t feel like a vacation. It will be hard work because there is just so much that will need to be done. With the hard work though comes a great feeling of accomplishment.
- Bring you own tools and supplies. Don’t expect there to be extra hammers, trash bags, saws, towels, brooms, or scrub sponges.
- Don’t become part of the problem. Any place you go to help will already have all of its resources taxed. We want your help, but coming in and adding to the burden on the community is not helpful. (I’m not trying to be mean–just honest).
Get others involved!
Share what you learn and what you are doing. Encourage your friends and family to join you in supporting Texas. If everyone gives a little, then this seemingly overwhelming time might become a little less overwhelming.
On a personal note:
Me and my household ( hubby, 2 daughters, dog, and cat) are okay. So far we have only lost power once and that was for about 4 hours very early on in this ordeal. We are heart broken over the devastation we are witnessing. The whole ordeal is wearing on us and we are starting to go a little stir crazy just waiting– for what, we really don’t know. We are waiting for an end to the rain (but it seems we still have at least another 4-5 days before we get a break) or waiting for water to enter our home and attempt to wait out the rest of the time upstairs.
Currently the house is still dry, power is still on, and we have enough food stock to be okay. We do have a generator if we need it. We also live in a two story home and can relocate upstairs if need be and let Mother Nature have our lower level if she decides she wants to take it. We do not have flood insurance, so it would be very painful in many ways if that happened–but it wouldn’t be the end of our hope.
We have a rent house that we have found out has taken on water. We don’t have an idea how much or what the damage will be once this is all over with.
My extended family is safe and has evacuated. My brother and Parents are both being told that serious damage is expected to each of their homes from the crest of the river that is several miles from them. My parent’s home is being threatened by the rising of the San Bernard river and my brother is being threatened by the Brazos. If you could say an extra prayer of protection for them and their family, I’d greatly appreciate it.
#HurricaneHarvey #TexasFlood #HelpTexas
Thank you for putting this into words, Tammy! Continuing to pray and ready to take some physical action to put behind those prayers!
Melissa, Thank yo so much for your prayers! God is hearing them because we had a break in the rain very early this morning and it gave the water a bit of time to recede. God is listening.
Well spoken Tammy. It will take years for recovery. And some will never recover.
Yet many will find God in this ordeal.
Darrel, Yes recovery will be a long process, but if this brings people to the Hope that comes from a relationship with Christ, then this disaster has severed a greater purpose.
Robin Dahms says
I love the spirit of authenticity of which this was written. No sugar coating! Just like Katrina years ago, many will not have employment to return to either, temporarily or ever. Maybe we have to relocate cities just to financially provide for our families again. This is our reality.
God is bigger than the biggest storm. I rejoice seeing the humanity that has come together to serve another human and the spirit of resilience Houston has right now. I rejoice seeing people giving thanks to God for what is truly important, their life and family’s safety.
Does it take a storm of this size for us to love our neighbor, to set aside all racial tensions and to love like Jesus loves us?
May we never forget the humanity we are called to share. Texans are strong and resilient. As long as we have hope in Jesus, we are never lost or forsaken.
God bless Texas!
Thank you Robin. God truly is bigger than the storm.I’m glad we have Him as our Hope, our compass, and our anchor… not matter what type of storm.