Texas has always been a huge melting pot of cultures. Sometimes we all don’t see eye to eye but when disaster strikes Texans come together to help their communities. Currently 50 counties in Texas have been affected by Harvey; I’m in one of them. The storm in Austin was so harsh it uprooted a huge Pecan tree in my neighborhood straight out of the ground, roots and all. Houston and the Gulf coast have it much worse than us that are inland in Texas. Unfortunately the rain will continue on regions already flooded and affected. Harvey could dump up to 15 inches of rain on western Louisiana and eastern Texas, including the Houston area. That said, Houston will provide more mega-shelters today.
Per CNN President Trump touched down in Corpus Christi earlier today. He will next head to Austin (my hometown). He and first lady will not, however, to go places that are reeling from Hurricane Harvey, such as Houston and Rockport. As CNN’s John King points out, this is a smart move. The rescue operation is still underway in these areas, and President Trump’s presence there would pull away attention from those efforts. Really?! I think he should visit the areas effected but not make it known to the press and lay off the tweets. He needs to see the towns already devastated from Harvey.
HOW CAN I FIND SHELTER AND DISASTER RELIEF?
- The U.S. Department of Education activated its emergency response contact center today. Education stakeholders seeking informational resources and relief from Department-based administrative requirements are encouraged to email HarveyRelief@ed.gov.
- Following reports that several Texans are missing in midst of the storm, 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, or find a list of open shelters here.
- Call the United Way Helpline at 211 for information on shelters and other forms of assistance.
- To report a missing child, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-866-908-9570.
- For those looking for refuge, Texas State Park camping is free to hurricane evacuees.
- Talk to a professional about emotional distress by calling the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or texting “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
- Harris County: Call 713-308-8580 to locate your towed car.
- Victoria: Grocery store H-E-B has a host of emergency measures in place, including a mobile kitchen serving meals today in Victoria.
- Dallas: Mayor Mike Rawlings announced Monday that the city will start receiving people flown out of the flooded region this afternoon. The city will also open three emergency evacuation shelters at Samuell Grand Recreation Center, Walnut Hill Recreation Center and Tommie Allen Recreation Center.
- San Antonio: Several shelters are open for storm refugees, according to the governor’s website. Both San Antonio Shelter Hub and San Antonio’s American Red Cross Shelter are hosting those who have evacuated from the floods.
- Austin: The Austin Disaster Relief Network also activated a call center to provide both resources and information to families impacted by the storm. You can reach that hotline at 512-806-0800.
- If you have IBD like myself starting this afternoon, they will be posting information and resources for patients on their South Texas Chapter Website (http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/chapters/southtexas/), Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation – South Texas Facebook page, and on affiliated Facebook pages. If you need immediate assistance, contact the IBD Help Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-MY-GUT-PAIN. http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/resources/disaster-preparedness.html
HOW CAN I HELP?
- Several local and national organizations are collecting donations for general disaster relief efforts, including the United Way, Americares, Salvation Army, Save the Children, Global Giving, Heart to Heart and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has set up a flood relief fund, backing the effort with his own $100,000 donation.
- Gofundme has curated a list of Harvey relief efforts, with fundraisers for individual cities, families and homes.
- Individuals and corporations can donate to hurricane relief efforts through the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
- The State of Texas Agriculture Relief fund (STAR fund) is collecting private dollars to help Texas farmers and ranchers recover from Hurricane Harvey.
- The Red Cross is looking for donations to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. You can contribute $10 by clicking this link or by texting Red Cross to 90999. Donations made to the American Red Cross can either be by credit card or pay pal.
There are live Hurricane Harvey updates on CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/29/us/texas-harvey-latest/. http://cnn.it/2glmxZZ
Though we Texans and Louisianans aren’t in the clear yet I am hopeful the storm will die down and not pick up, especially for Houston. I will update this post with more Hurricane Harvey information as it comes in so keep checking back!
Source: American Red Cross, CNN, CNN’s John King, Texas Tribune