Hurricane Harvey crashed onto the shores of Rockport, Texas Aug. 25 breaking the 12-year streak of no hurricane landfall in the U.S. Harvey was a Category 4 storm, reaching wind speeds of 130 miles per hour. The hurricane wrought havoc on southeast Texas and Louisiana before dissipating Sept. 2.
Harvey left 300,000 Texans without electricity and ruined billions of dollars worth of infrastructure. As of Sept. 11, 71 people have died. Thirteen thousand people were rescued and approximately 30,000 were displaced.
Areas across Texas were significantly damaged. The large size means that recovery time will be quite significant.
Although no official estimate has been made, it is sure to take years. Recovery from 2005 storm Hurricane Katrina is still underway, so the effects are expected to be incredibly long-lasting.
There is an estimated $200 billion of damages. President Donald Trump made a request for $7.85 billion of federal funding to be directed to Harvey recovery efforts, most of which will go through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
After FEMA’S inadequate preparation for Hurricane Katrina left Louisiana in ruins 12 years ago, it began developing more efficient rescue efforts. FEMA administrator Brock Long said during an interview with ABC News that FEMA was focusing on “long-term mass care, sizeable individual assistance in housing effort as well as being able to mobilize life-saving and sustaining commodities.”
Though FEMA’s federal status ensures mass funding and superior mobility, smaller rescue efforts by independent organizations have been of great assistance in affected areas. One example of these organizations is SBP, a non-profit disaster relief organization that sends out relief personnel to assist in clean-up and recovery efforts. SBP engaged AmeriCorp members to team with an AmeriCorp Disaster Response Team (A-DRT) in Houston, Texas that was sponsored by FEMA, and they independently deployed another team to the Corpus Christi, Texas area.
William Jewell College alumnus Bruce Rash is currently in the Corpus Christi area assisting with recovery efforts as an AmeriCorp member working on a 10-month engagement with SBP. Though the destruction is enormous, Rash notes, “the people here are incredibly resilient.” Despite the optimism, Rash remarks that there is a deficit in volunteerism in the area. Massive effort and time is needed in order to restore the area, especially since the area affected is so large.
Campus chaplain Jeff Buscher is currently in the process of organizing a relief trip in Houston. The trip is expected to be taken over fall break and a cost less than $150. More information will be released as student interest is expressed.
This article was originally published with inaccurate details. The Monitor has updated it to include these corrections.
Photo courtesy of ABC News.