This is probably one of the numerous posts you’ve read about Hurricane Harvey – and for a solid reason. Like many things that happen in life, the preparation for an event tends to be completely different than the actual experience. As a country who prides ourselves on being one of the greatest leaders in the world, we were told by the media that this natural disaster was coming – but we weren’t told how to react when it actually did. And as the events unfolded, it became clear that we didn’t need to be told.
To put the damage of this category 4 hurricane in perspective, it hit cities along the gulf coast of Texas and some of Louisiana. Corpus Christi, Galveston, Rockport, and Houston were some cities majorly affected. In general, Texas received its yearly average of rain within 2 days. While some areas received 12-25 inches of rain, others had over 50 inches.
Now deemed as the hurricane that set the record for the most rain in the continental U.S. and the greatest Hurricane to hit the U.S. within the last 10 years, this natural disaster was shocking to all who heard about it and devastating to those who lived through it.
My family and I were lucky to not have our street or home affected by the major flooding in Houston, but not every story is like ours. As I sat in the comfort of my home, I was saddened by the knowledge that many people (up to 30,000) were losing theirs to extreme flooding. Through the 5 days of being stuck at home, I saw endless articles and photos of major highways under water, people drowning, animals being left behind by owners, and mandatory evacuations.
With these heartbreaking events in Houston came the inspirational stories of first responders, medical professionals, and neighbors who risked their lives to help those caught in the floods. The response to help was so extreme that shelters began turning away volunteers due to the large amount of of people who were trying to. From the story of a woman who sat in her attic for 14 hours with 21 dogs to the story of a human chain that was created to save a man from his car, the city came together as humans helping humans.
You see, there’s something about Texas that makes it special. If you don’t agree with that statement, you’ve either never visited Texas or never left it.
I wasn’t born in Texas – and that’s probably why I love it so much.
We’re the first people to tell you what state we’re from and the last people left to argue with you if you say In-N-Out is better than Whataburger. The pride that Texans have for their state is a movement that will never fade and this disaster simply proved it.
Although Hurricane Harvey left Houstonians with a flooded city, the country approached the catastrophe with sympathy and care. The Cajun Navy from Louisiana took their boats and made the drive to Texas while Kevin Hart created the, “Hurricane Harvey Relief Challenge” to urge celebrities to donate to the relief. Along with donating, people from out of state reached out to various donation drives in order to sponsor families affected.
As individuals, we showed our humanity by rescuing people who were strangers, giving to those who were in need, and volunteering at shelters for those who lost their homes.
As a country, we proved that our ability to do this means the foundation that makes America beautiful still exists.
Regardless of the darkness we’ve seen in 2017, America working together from the pureness of our hearts is a fact that will outshine any form of hatred. Hurricane Harvey has left an aftermath of destruction, but America has answered it with an outpouring of heroism and hope that many of us considered gone.
Although the damage of this disaster may still be seen years from now, the embracement of America as a country full of humans who happen to have different races, ethnicities, religions, and beliefs is a mark that will last much longer.
There’s beauty after every storm and I hope this one is that the country realizes our willingness to view each other as humans is a force that’s stronger than any natural disaster. We live in the greatest country in the world and it’s up to us to meet that expectation. To appreciate each other instead of attack. To respect each other instead of ridicule. And to help each other instead of looking the other way. After all, we’re in this together – no matter how different we all may be.
GoFundMe – All fundraisers related to Harvey in one
Houston Food Bank – Every $1 you give provides a full day of meals for those in Southeast Texas
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief – A volunteer force of 80,000 people who help survivors through delivering meals, providing hot showers, and cleaning out homes
To help children:
Texas Diaper Bank – Provides 1.1 million diapers/year to seniors and babies (Note: diapers aren’t offered by relief agencies)
Save the Children – Offers support and help to vulnerable families and children with a gift of $100 providing a crib and safe space for up to 20 displaced children
The Driscoll Children’s Hospital – Based in Corpus Christi and is accepting financial and blood donations
To help animals:
SPCA of Texas – Vaccinations for a shelter dog or cat begin at $30
The Humane Society – The Disaster Relief Fund helps animals who are victims of natural disasters by providing shelter, rescue vehicles, reuniting with owners, and overall assisting them in survival
To help those with medical needs:
Portlight – Provides medical equipment, evacuation, and shelter to the disabled
Direct Relief USA – Offers prescription drugs and medical supplies to those in emergency situations
To help the homeless:
The Houston Coalition for the Homeless – Includes information on which shelters have space and how to get there safely