On Friday, as the storm approached Texas, World Vision based in Monrovia, began shipping relief goods from four of its field sites across the United States: Fife; Washington; Chicago; and Philippi, West Virginia. More trucks left for affected areas from the Grand Prairie, Texas warehouse on Monday. Each 53-foot trailer carried enough supplies to help about 2,500 people.
Their teams of staff, the local churches and community partners are mobilizing to reach 100,000 people affected by the disaster.
“Families that had supplies are now running short. Many families were forced to leave their homes often with no food, no extra diapers, or a change of clothes,” said Nate Youngblood, World Vision’s national domestic disaster director. “World Vision is working to get resources into the hands of those who need them most as soon as possible.”
Emergency supplies headed to the disaster zone include: tents, sleeping bags, coolers, food kits, personal hygiene items, school supplies, socks, clothes, diapers, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and latex gloves. Products will be distributed to churches and local partner organizations to benefit storm victims in Houston, Corpus Christi and other affected areas in southeast Texas.
Hurricane Harvey caused a landfall in south-central Texas late Friday night. It threatened millions of residents with 130-mph winds, heavy rains and a massive storm surge that swamped coastal areas. Harvey downgraded to a tropical storm over the weekend. By Monday, the Houston metro area was receiving four inches of rain per hour and experiencing widespread flooding. About 13 million people are under flood watch or warning. At least eight people have died as a result of the storm.
“We are seeing catastrophic flooding, and this will likely expand, and it will likely persist, as it’s slow to recede,” National Weather Service Director Louis W. Uccellini said in a Washington Post article.
Hurricane Harvey is the country’s first major (Category Three or higher) hurricane since Hurricane Wilma hit Florida in October 2005. Hurricane Wilma was stronger than Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, both parts of the same storm season. While Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was one of the most destructive and costly in U.S. history, it hit the eastern seaboard as a Category Two storm. Hurricane Matthew, in late 2016, had been downgraded to a Category One by the time it made landfall on the East Coast.
Harvey began Aug. 18 as a slow-moving tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. It grew into a Category One hurricane with 80-mph winds Aug. 24 and continued to gain strength as it churned toward land. Late on Aug. 25, the National Hurricane Center upgraded the storm to a Category Four hurricane, with sustained winds of up to 130 mph and heavy rainfall across south central Texas. Harvey continued inland Saturday, Aug. 26 with 75-mph winds and extreme amounts of rain. By Sunday, the winds died down to as much as 40 mph, but the storm dumped a year’s-worth of rain in less than a week on Houston and much of southeastern Texas.
How much damage will Hurricane Harvey cause?
Forecasters anticipate catastrophic flooding as the slow-moving storm lingers and dumps up to 40 inches of rain in some places across Texas. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator William Long told the Weather Channel that he anticipates at least 450,000 people needing emergency assistance in the wake of Harvey.
Some analysts said Monday that the storm could cause between $30 billion and $100 billion in damage. Sandy inflicted more than $70 billion in damages, and Matthew cost the U.S. as much as $15 billion. Since the storm hit, more than 11 trillion gallons of rain have inundated the region. About 215,000 students are out of school in Houston. While authorities and first responders handled 2,000 water rescue missions around Houston, at least 30,000 people have fled to temporary shelters.
How can you help? Right now, World Vision warehouse staff, truck drivers and local partners are working to mobilize and deliver relief supplies to affected communities as quickly and safely as possible. Consider helping them continue the flow of emergency supplies by donating to World Vision’s Disaster Relief in the U.S. Fund. You will directly affect their efforts to care for families in great need after this catastrophe.
Join them in praying for people affected by the storm as well as for emergency responders:
“Almighty Father, we ask for Your mercy on those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Protect people. Guide emergency responders as they seek to help those in need.”