Houston, Texas. August 29th. “This is beyond our even appreciation or understanding. We’re in an ocean” says Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. The congresswoman has not been able to access her own home due to Harvey flooding in the area. Hurricane Harvey is drowning southeastern Texas for the fourth day, putting a vast area under several feet of water. Experts say Harvey has been stuck longer in one place than any tropical storm in memory. That is just one of the hurricane’s extremes; the storm is off the charts by many measures. The National Weather Service described the storm as “unprecedented” in a tweet on Sunday, adding that “all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced.”
Harvey has led to flood waters submerging highways, houses and in some cases entire neighborhoods. Another dangerous problem facing residents around Houston metropolitan area of 6.6 million is the alligators that have come out into the open, looking as they are for higher ground. And needless to say, electricity and water outages have hit entire neighborhoods even if they’ve been spared going under water.
Needless to say George Bush International Airport Houston will not be operational for some time. Harvey halted all operations at George Bush Intercontinental Airport due to flooding of the airport and of the surrounding roads. William P. Hobby Airport also ceased all commercial flights Sunday morning.
The Army Corps of Engineers began a controlled water release from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs into Buffalo Bayou early Monday. A voluntary evacuation order is in place for adjacent residential areas.
Hospital patients are being evacuated in several hospitals in the Houston metro. However, floodwaters have prevented rescuers from reaching patients at Ben Taub Hospital
Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city’s Northeast Water Purification Plant was completely submerged as of 6 p.m. Sunday and that the Southeast Water Purification Plant was operating at five percent production. Many of the bayous, flood channels and rivers around the city were well above the top of the water bank as of 4 p.m. Central time on Monday.
ExxonMobil shut down operations at its Baytown refinery due to flooding and Royal Dutch Shell closed a large refining facility at Deer Park.
Ways You Can Help Those Affected By Hurricane Harvey
If you’re ready to help, here are a few ways to get started.
1. Donate Money
There are plenty of reputable, time-tested aid organizations that you can be sure are experts in natural disaster assistance and will get the money where it needs to go. On CNN this weekend, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recommended donating to the American Red Cross. Americares and Samaritan’s Purse are also accepting donations, and Global Giving has a Hurricane Harvey fund with a $2 million goal.
Local animal shelters are also in need while they help Texas’ pet owners care for their four-legged friends.
2. Donate Blood
No cash to spare? No problem. Blood supplies will be especially needed now to help the Texas region deal with the hit it took. If you’re not afraid of needles, consider donating blood to the Red Cross or to Texas’ Carter BloodCare or South Texas Blood and Tissue Center. You can see a list of other donation centers here.
3. Donate Food
Food banks in Texas will be impacted by the storm’s damage, and it might be weeks or months until some are back to their normal lifestyle. In addition, the area’s homeless are always in need. Look into donating non perishables to the Texas Food Bank. You can also donate money if you’re outside the area.
4. Host Refugees
Airbnb has set up a free emergency housing system for those who have been displaced by the hurricane, waiving all its services and fees for accommodations between Aug. 23 and Sep. 1. You can list your home here or look for housing. Airbnb has activated our host community to open their homes for $0 for those evacuating for Hurricane Harvey
If you’re a hands-on person, volunteering is a great way to help. With long-term damage, volunteers will be needed in the coming weeks and months. Consider registering to join the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or Team Rubicon.
6. Think Outside The Box
The damage is sure to last months, and there are many ways to provide assistance to people in times of need. If you have a craft or trade or can provide basic supplies on the ground, these can all be of use.
Photo: Houston Hobby Airport runway
Not finding the right charity to donate to? Check out Charity Navigator’s guide for Hurricane Harvey. The charity rating site has earmarked the top organizations accepting donations, complete with in-depth info and scores, including how they utilize funds. No matter how you help, it’s worth doing.
For People in Houston metro, who need help these are useful numbers to keep at hand:
*National Guard 713-578-3000
*Coast Guard 281-464-4854 (4852,53,54,55, Med ER rooftop helicopter 51) & 1-800-323-7233
*Cajun Navy 281-898-3016/ can text 337-581-3750
*Group rescue 713-426-9404 / to help 713-881-3100
*Search on Zello App under “Texas search & rescue”
People are leaving information on Facebook (FB) on helping and where they are now :
-Jack Cross Spider Wraps (truck/boat North Houston) 832-731-3764
-Joseph Booze (7 boats) 409-893-1341
-Luis Jimenez text 832-608-0569 (NE side)
-Richard Espinoza 832-298-3582
-Adam (1 boat, Bellaire) 281-630-2222
-Michael Soto (Spring) 281-236-0010
-Anthony (1 boat, Katy) 832-677-7268
-Person helping in Atascocita 832-812-9882
-Adam Shaffer (1 boat) 469-847-8932
-Velma (any area) 832-470-5323
-Bryan (large trucks) 713-446-7853
-Joel (liberty/Dayton area) 832-794-1610
-Ruby Guadiana (Lakewood) see FB page