On Saturday, August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey finally hit home. Harvey’s tortuous winds and unrelenting rain, turned Houston, Texas into a rising swampland. The city that I have called home since 2005, was now at the mercy of one of the hugest natural disasters to date. Major highways turned to gushing rivers, homes completely submerged and thousands of individuals left homeless and displaced. The damage left in the wake of Harvey is truly overwhelming and disheartening.
For most Houstonians, Harvey is not our first rodeo. During this hypersensitive time, many recall Hurricane Ike (2008) and the massive
failed evacuation attempt. Over 2 million people flooded all major roadways, resulting in many individuals trapped on the roads, out of gas and food, and vulnerable during medical emergencies. This mass exodus turned normal 2-4 hour drives to neighboring cities into 16+ hour voyages and unfortunately still resulted in a large number of deaths.
Now that Hurricane Harvey has finally left Houston’s orbit and waters begin to recede, the sun shines on what has been left behind to rebuild. For some, that may be a daunting reality to swallow, especially with so much lost, but we are also reminded and given comfort knowing that God is in control and always provides.
Throughout all media outlets, including social media, the heart of Houston beats loudly and proudly. Houstonians show the world that we are hopeful, not helpless. The local rescue and relief efforts witnessed thus far are truly inspiring. Many Houstonians are victims of Harvey and as much as Harvey has washed away, it did not wash away our spirit and for that I am extremely grateful.
Despite losing power and only being flooded in, my family and I have been very fortunate during this time of extreme loss for others. But now that some of the roadways have cleared, I am ready to get to the hospital so I can relieve many of my fellow doctors and healthcare workers that have been serving patients for days without rest. Cabin fever has finally reached its peak and I know through my calling in medicine I will be able to serve my city best.
Are you wondering how you can also aid in the Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts? Please find resources below to offer help or get the help that you may need.
For those in need:
- Text SHELTER and your zip code to 4FEMA (43362) to find an open shelter near you. You can also use the FEMA mobile app. Keep in mind that City of Houston will not ask for immigration status or papers at any shelter.
- Red Cross list of open shelters here.
- Apply for disaster assistance: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
- Click here to find out how to replace important documents.
- Click here for updates from Governor Greg Abbott.
- The Red Cross is encouraging people to list themselves and their families as safe by clicking here. You can also receive disaster assistance from the Red Cross by calling 877-500-8645.
- Harris County: Call 713-308-8580 to locate your towed car.
- HISD pledges to offer 3 meals a day to students regardless of financial qualifications for the entire year.
How you can help:
- The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, is accepting donations for flood victims.
- Houston Texans own, JJ Watts, has also established a fund to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey.
- The Houston Food Bank is accepting donations.
- Make a cash or diaper donation to the Texas Diaper Bank, which is providing emergency diaper kits to displaced families.
- The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit their website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.
- Click here to find a list of other GoFundMe Hurricane Relief Funds. Be sure to verify that your donations will in fact benefit hurricane relief efforts.
- Donate blood:
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is reporting a critical shortage, and has extended hours at all of its San Antonio-area donor rooms. To donate, call 210-731-5590 or visit their website for more information.
Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in North, Central and East Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.
- Volunteer Houston has launched a virtual Volunteer Reception Center to aid nonprofit agencies in flood relief efforts. More information here.
Do you have any other resources to add? Do you know of any businesses that have pledged to support the relief efforts? Please comment below so I can keep this post updated.