HURRICANE HARVEY: what’s happening now and how can we help
The devastation Hurricane Harvey has left behind is terrible. It is definitely the worst natural disaster in Texas history and people are still suffering from its aftermath.
Hurricane Harvey entered Texas on August 27th and when it finally left, nothing was as before. Officials said that they believe at least 82 people died as a result of the intense flooding, although it could take weeks to determine the exact death toll. Harvey caused many damages in both Texas and Louisiana; Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has estimated that the cost for recovery will exceed $180 billion, which would make Harvey one of the most expensive natural disasters in the history of the United States.
Our offices at Global Edge were closed during the week the hurricane hit, and even though our headquarters were not affected, we shut down our offices while the hurricane ran its course as the safety of our employees was our number one priority. While we were lucky enough to not experience any damages many of our clients and contractors were not as fortunate. Our CEO, Kathy Eberwein, has always supported philanthropic efforts within the local communities as it is a core value at The Global Edge. Staying true to those values, she shut down headquarters for several days post-Harvey so employees could go out and volunteer within their local communities.
At the moment, over 60,000 Texans are still displaced, living in shelters or hotel rooms paid for by FEMA. There are more than 311,000 people affected who have formally requested economic aid from the government. These people need our help. They still don’t know what’s going to happen and how long it will take before their homes are safe again. According to a Washington Post analysis on data released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), only 17 percent of homeowners most directly affected by Harvey had flood insurance policies.
The devastating hurricane has also affected automobiles; as more than half a million cars were damaged by water. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said that the recovery will be a “marathon, not a career” that will last for years and will consume a lot of time and money. Zinke said: “I’d say we’re probably at a 20 percent.”
If you are interested in helping here is a list of ways you can contribute to support people within the community:
The best way to help is to donate money and contribute to organizations and charitable agencies that will ensure that people affected by the storm get the resources they need.
“Right now, the best thing people can do is donate money,” said Katrina Farmer, Director of The American Red Cross offices in San Angelo.
Some of these organizations may include: The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities USA, Global Giving, Save the Children and United Way of Greater Houston, among many other institutions that are offering their support.
Make sure your donation is secure by going through the organization’s official website or sending a check through the mail. Charity Navigator says you should never donate over the phone, email or unknown social media pages, as these are the places scammers usually target.
Most of these organizations and shelters will need a lot of helping hands to distribute goods to people and helping with the recovery. Many volunteers will be needed in coming days, weeks and possibly months, so you can sign up as a volunteer to assist those affected by the hurricane, getting involved to help with the relief efforts. You can sign up on Voly.org and fill the registration if you are interested in these volunteering opportunities.
Also, the American Red Cross announced that they would be training volunteers at their shelters through a “fast-track” course.
According to the AABB, Hurricane Harvey and its associated flooding are impacting the nation’s blood supply. The AABB is urging eligible donors across America, especially those with type O-positive blood, to make and attend donation appointments as soon as possible. If you are type O blood, then you are critically important at this moment and you should schedule a blood donation appointment as soon as possible. Type O blood is the only blood type that can be safely transfused to most patients with other blood types and is frequently used in emergency situations.
If you wish to donate blood you can contact your local community’s Red Cross, or check for blood banks within your area.
Keep on Giving
Recovering from disasters such as hurricane Harvey takes time. It’s essential to realize that disaster relief and recovery efforts aren’t just a thing of the first few days after the storm has hit. Help can be required for months or even years. if you feel compelled to help others in the wake of these natural disasters, do your best to train yourself to help rebuild these affected communities.