Two weeks ago Houston was hit by a Category 4 hurricane named Harvey by the World Meteorological Organization. Hurricanes and Tropical Storms are nothing new to Houston, in fact they are fairly routine. The Gulf Coast lies along the westerly trade winds so cyclonic activity naturally funnels in that direction. But Hurricane Harvey was a different storm. Harvey was a very slow moving hurricane that sat in the gulf and picked up energy and moisture. When it made landfall it stalled northwest of Houston and unleashed a torrential downpour.
Damage from windspeed was relatively minimal but Houston flooded very heavily. To put it into perspective: Hurricane Katrina had 16.33 inches of rain which broke the levees in New Orleans, Hurricane Andrew had 13.96 inches of rain, and Hurricane Sandy had 12.55 inches or rain, those three powerful hurricanes total 42.84 inches of rain. Harvey had rainfall recorded as 51.88 inches (11 trillion gallons of rain). Meaning: Harvey had more rain than the other three hurricanes combined!
As you can imagine so much rainfall caused incredible devastation. Harvey is on track to be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with the destruction of $190 billion in property and assets. But in human terms well over 1 million people were displaced and over 70 people have perished. A multitude of people have lost their homes and businesses. Of course, the National Guard and FEMA were mobilized but the outpouring of concern and help from ordinary Americans has been incredible. Catholic Charities is also getting involved in the disaster relief effort.
Catholic Charities is doing more than just collecting money. They have deployed Mobile Response vehicles to San Antonio and Houston to distribute necessities of living like food, water, toiletries, etc. Catholic Charities is also housing thousands of Houstonians who have lost their homes or their neighborhoods are still too dangerous to enter. Individual Catholics are also responding in kind. Jim "Mattress Mac" MacIngvale is a local celebrity and furniture store dealer who opened up his store, Gallery Furniture, to National Guard troops and stranded Harvey victims.
Right now, Catholic Charities is asking for
bottled water, diapers, baby formula, cleaning supplies and toiletries of all sorts, pet food, and gift cards for gas and grocery stores, as well as monetary donations. In the next few weeks, Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will be focusing on assistance with cleanup and assessment of the damage to the homes of the Catholic Charities clients in communities hard hit by Harvey.
If you want to contribute to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort please click on the link below and give according to your ability.