Helping After Harvey: How to Help in the Wake of Disaster
In the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Houston and affected areas are flooded extensively. More than 40 inches of rain have fallen and more rain is expected in the coming days. The U.S. transportation network has only begun to feel the disruption and what is still to come from this violent storm. Sadly, the death toll has risen to 29 lives lost. The number of people in shelters continues to rise, new mandatory evacuations due to Barker Dam Reservoir flooding Cinco Ranch in Fort Bend County, Texas, and evacuations in Beaumont/Port Arthur continue. The water system is down in Beaumont, a city of 118,000 people, making living conditions extremely difficult as there is no drinking water. A chemical plant explosion in Crosby, Texas at the Arkema facility has forced additional evacuations.
If you are delivering emergency supplies
If you are delivering emergency supplies to an area affected by the storm, please keep in mind:
- All major oil refineries have closed their Houston-area operations and evacuated personnel. This will cause limited availability of fuel in the area. Plan re-fueling stops well in advance.
- Many highways are still underwater due to flooding from the storm. Do not drive through standing water.
- Have a communication plan in place with both family and your employer. Schedule regular check-ins and updates so those you love and those you work for are aware of your location and situation and know you are safe.
How you can help
Looking for ways to help the relief effort? The Red Cross and Salvation Army will be involved with disaster relief efforts, providing shelter, fresh drinking water, food, toiletries, clothes, bedding, and other necessities.
They also are involved with rebuilding efforts once the storm has passed and will send trained volunteers to help with the recovery.
The Red Cross and Salvation Army also need volunteers to help at the shelters set up to house people who fled the coast. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit their web sites below:
- Red Cross: redcross.org/volunteer/.
- Salvation Army: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/volunteer/
If you need emergency assistance:
Find open shelters by visiting redcross.org, downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767 ). The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. Shelters are standing by in other states, including Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas, in case they are needed. You can also call 2-1-1 for shelter information, download the FEMA app or text SHELTER and your zip code to 4FEMA (43362).