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Current as of August 30, 2017

Background

Hurricane Harvey made landfall northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas on Friday evening, August 25, 2017 becoming the strongest storm to hit Texas since the 1960s and the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Katrina in 2005[i]. Harvey weakened to a tropical storm and lingered around Texas’ Gulf Coast until late Tuesday evening, where it is delivered more than two feet of rain resulting in catastrophic floods. The storm made its second landfall on Wednesday morning, August 30, in southwest Louisiana, where it expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Wednesday night[ii].

At least thirty-one deaths[iii] and more than a dozen injuries have been reported as of Wednesday, August 30. Initial assessments from the Port of Corpus Christi demonstrate light to moderate damage and debris from the impact of Harvey[iv]. However, the National Weather Service reports that the storm is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown until the storm and flooding cease and official impact assessments are conducted [v].

Figure 1: Map of Hurricane Harvey Forecast Precipitation on August 28, courtesy of National Weather Service

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Key Data

The Disaster

  • Seven coastal counties in Texas and one Louisiana township ordered mandatory evacuations and Corpus Christi mayor Joe McComb also encouraged residents to leave. However, the nation’s fourth-largest city Houston did not issue an evacuation order[vi].
  • A preliminary estimate from AccuWeather predicts the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey will approach $160 billion, similar to the combined effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy[vii].
  • Hurricane Harvey has delivered as much as 51.88 inches of rain in some parts of Houston as of Wednesday morning. Although heavy rainfall has ceased in the Houston and Galveston regions, flooding remains a major concern in Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur and southwest Louisiana[viii].
  • 3,000 homes in Harris County have been flooded by water spilling from the Addicks and Barker dams, from which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had begun releasing water to prevent greater impact from uncontrolled water[ix].

The Affected

  • More than 316,000 people have lost power and 32,000 people are staying in 230 shelters across Texas[x].
  • Approximately 5,000 evacuees are residing in state parks and 1,800 people have been transferred from shelters to local motels and hotels[xi],[xii].
  • Around 210,000 people in the state of Texas have registered for federal assistance as of Wednesday, August 30[xiii].
  • The population of 54 counties included in Texas disaster declaration make up 41% of the state's 27.9 million population.
  • More than 56,000 calls were made to Houston’s 911 between 10pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday, compared to a daily average of 8,000 calls[xiv].
  • More than 8,500 people had been rescued in the state of Texas as of Wednesday, August 30[xv].

The Response – Government Agencies

  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday that he has activated the entire Texas National Guard in response to Harvey[xvi]. The total number of deployed personnel for rescue efforts is now 14,000 and Texas is expecting up to 10,000 more members from additional states[xvii].
  • Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced Monday morning that Dallas will receive people flown out of the flooded region and host them at three emergency evacuation shelters beginning Monday afternoon[xviii].
  • The USDA waived the application process so that 218,000 students enrolled in Houston ISD will receive 3 free meals a day for the 2017-2018 academic year[xix].
  • President Donald Trump declared Hurricane Harvey a major disaster on Friday evening and declared a federal state of emergency in both Texas and Louisiana. He directed federal aid toward Texas’ recovery efforts[xx]. On Monday, President Trump pledged to expedite the passing of an appropriations bill to address the private property and public infrastructure damage[xxi].
  • On Tuesday, August 29, President Trump met with local and state leaders in Corpus Christi and Austin[xxii].

Relief Organizations

Immediate emergency response efforts are prioritizing safety, shelter and basic necessities. Tens of thousands of people spent the weekend in shelters, receiving aid from national and local relief organizations. Houston converted its convention center into a mass shelter where 9,000 residents and American Red Cross volunteers are squeezing into the space made to accommodate 5,000 people[xxiii][xxiv]. Dallas also plans to open a “mega-shelter” on Tuesday morning to host 5,000 evacuees[xxv]. Several states and US military are sending emergency workers and equipment, including boats to mobilize necessary resources.

Local

United Way
United Way helps coordinate a community’s response to natural disasters, provides help to the most vulnerable and invests in communities’ first responders. In addition to this support, United Ways across Texas are actively fundraising to aid the Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery. Call the United Way Helpline at 211 for information on shelters and other forms of assistance.

UW of Metropolitan Dallas
100% of funds received will be distributed to nonprofits supporting those affected by Harvey and who are seeking shelter and long-term assistance in North Texas. Donate here.

UW of Greater Houston
Immediate funds will help provide immediate relief and support Houston’s first responders, like the Red Cross. Once the community is stabilized, the funds will be used for long-term recovery efforts. Text UWFLOOD to 41444 or donate here.

UW of Brazoria County
Donations will be utilized by the Brazoria Country Long-Term Recovery Committee to help disaster relief efforts and residents recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Harvey. Donate here.

UW of Victoria Country
Immediate funds will be distributed to partner agencies providing disaster relief, emergency food and housing in Victoria County. Donate here.

Trusted World
Trusted World is operating 3 shelters in Dallas for those who have been evacuated or displaced. They’re requesting financial donations, volunteers, and in-kind donations including new underwear and socks, non-perishable food, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, and baby diapers among more. Donate here.

Greater Houston Community Fund
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to allow flood relief donations for victims that are affected by Harvey’s torrential downpours. Donate here.

The Montrose Center – LGBTQ Disaster Relief Fund
Donations will be used by the Montrose Center, Houston’s longtime LGBTQ center, to help those affected recover and rebuild their lives through counseling services, case management and direct assistance with food, furniture, housing and more. Donate here.

Local Food Banks
Both the Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi are requesting and accepting donations. $1 donation to Houston Food Bank provides 3 meals and a $1 donation to the Food Bank of Corpus Christi provides 7 meals to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

South Texas Blood and Tissue Center
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center (STBTC) is experiencing a critical shortage in blood supply and has extended hours for all San Antonio-area donor rooms. STBTC has already delivered a first wave of 350 units of blood to areas affected by the storm and experienced a surge in requests from 70+ organizations to hold blood drives. To donate blood, call 21-731-5590 or visit their website for more information.

Pets and Animals

Houston
The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals established an animal emergency response hotline (713-861-3010) and the Houston Humane Society is on the ground medicating, feeding, cleaning, and providing care to animals affected by the storm. 

San Antonio
The San Antonio Humane Society established the Harvey’s Heroes emergency fund to offset expenses to help shelter more than 70 pets from evacuee families and continue to accept more. Donate here.

Austin
Austin Pets Alive! has transported at least 330 animals to their shelter and are expecting an additional 50-100+ animals and pets from evacuee families. APA! is requesting financial donations to offset costs from taking in hundreds of transferred animals and in-kind pet supplies donations, such as large plastic or metal bins with lids to store food, leashes and collars, cat litter, large brooms, cat-specific beds, and liquid laundry soap. Donate here.

The Houston Coalition for the Homeless
The Houston Coalition for the Homeless is working to provide guidance to the homeless population with regards to up-to-date shelter availability, which shelters would be the best fit, and how to get there safely. Donate here.  

National

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross launched their largest hurricane relief efforts in years with trained volunteers providing meals and shelters for victims in 34 shelters, with enough cots and blankets to support more than 20,000 people in Texas. According to the Governor, the Red Cross is serving about 130,000 meals a day[xxvi]. To help people affected by Harvey, donate here or text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has activated all of its US and Canadian emergency disaster response assets to provide shelter, food, clothing and emotional care to storm and flood victims. Donate here or text the word STORM to 51555, and follow the Salvation Army’s disaster updates to see how donations are being utilized on the ground.

All Hands
The disaster relief organization’s Volunteers’ Response team is currently in a staging position in San Antonio, where they are in contact with emergency management officials to determine where services are most needed. Once access is granted, they will move to the Houston area to provide direct services. Donate here.

St. Bernard Project (SBP)
The St. Bernard Project will deploy AmeriCorps members and staff to support immediate recovery needs, provide damage assessment support, raise capacity of local nonprofits, and provide free advisory services to state and local leaders to help build disaster recovery contracts and processes. Donate here.

Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends’ disaster response team is deploying to Texas to rescue stranded animals, deliver supplies to hard-hit shelters, transport displaced shelter pets and support emergency sheltering efforts. Donate here.

Global Giving
Global Giving aims to raise $2 million to help first responders meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter. Once emergency response work is complete, Global Giving’s fund will support longer-term recovery efforts implemented by local, vetted organizations in the Gulf Coast. Donate here.

Companies and Brands

Apple: The tech company has partnered with American Red Cross to create an iTunes online store link to facilitate donations of which 100% will be given to the Red Cross to provide relief efforts for Harvey victims.

Airbnb: The home-sharing site is waiving its service fees for people affected by Hurricane Harvey and allowing Texas residents to list their residences across San Antonio, Austin and Dallas for free. Offer your space or find a place to stay here.

Amazon & Whole Foods Market: The newly merged companies are matching up to $1 million of donations made on Amazon’s website to contribute to the American Red Cross’ Harvey relief fund. Donate here.

PepsiCo: The company and its PepsiCo Foundation committed more than $1 million to support the American Red Cross’ disaster relief efforts following hurricane Harvey.

United Airlines: United launched an online Harvey Relief fundraising campaign with its charitable partners Airlink, American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Operation USA and the Greater Houston Community Foundation. United is matching the first $200,000 raised through its online fundraising campaign and providing up to 1,000 bonus miles to United MileagePlus members who donate a minimum of $50. Donate here.

Mobile technology companies: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have both announced that they will be providing data relief and credits to qualifying customers in the affected areas who go over their data limit.

In-kind donations: Walmart sent out 795 truckloads of water and other necessities on Sunday afternoon and an additional 1700 Walmart trucks are expected to arrive next week. Anheuser-Busch has delivered 410,000 cans of water to American Red Cross facilities to the Gulf Coast.  Chobani began loading up trucks on Monday morning to distribute products to those in need. Duracell is providing free batteries to anyone affected by the storm and reporting updates via Twitter.

Suggested Social Media Posts

  • Text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross and help provide direct services to #HurricaneHarvey victims
  • Want to help #HurricaneHarvey relief efforts? Text 'UWFLOOD' to 41444 to donate to the @UnitedWay Flood Relief

[i] http://live.reuters.com/Event/Harvey_The_Texas_Storm

[ii] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/hurricane-harvey-flooding-houston.html?_r=0

[iii] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/us/hurricane-harvey-storm-flooding.html

[iv] https://www.reuters.com/article/storm-harvey-port-corpus-christi-idUSL2N1LD0L4

[v] https://twitter.com/NWS/status/901832717070983169

[vi] https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/27/why-not-evacuate-harvey-houston-leaders-defend-their-calls-stay-put/

[vii] https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/accuweather-predicts-hurricane-harvey-to-be-the-most-costly-natural-disaster-in-us-history/70002597

[viii] http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/27/us/harvey-landfall/index.html

[ix] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-harvey-dams-idUSKCN1B812J

[x] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/hurricane-harvey-flooding-houston.html?_r=0

[xi] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/hurricane-harvey-flooding-houston.html?_r=0

[xii] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/us/hurricane-harvey-texas.html

[xiii] https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/30/after-30-confirmed-deaths-hurricane-harvey-shows-signs-leaving-texas/

[xiv] https://twitter.com/HoustonOEM/status/901911414461386752

[xv] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41096565

[xvi] https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/28/texas-governor-activates-texas-national-guard-harvey-rescue/

[xvii] https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/30/after-30-confirmed-deaths-hurricane-harvey-shows-signs-leaving-texas/

[xviii] https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/28/hurricane-harvey-relief-efforts-how-help/

[xix] https://patch.com/texas/houstonheights/breaking-all-hisd-students-receive-3-free-meals-day-school-year

[xx] http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/25/politics/trump-harvey-declaration/index.html

[xxi] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/us/politics/trump-finland-harvey-arpaio-russia.html

[xxii] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41088751

[xxiii] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/us/trump-texas-harvey.html

[xxiv] http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/houston-convention-center-refuge-harveys-survivors-49462745

[xxv] http://www.nbcdfw.com/weather/stories/Dallas-Prepares-Convention-Center-as-Mega-Shelter-for-Harvey-Flooding-Victims-441910563.html

[xxvi] http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/27/us/harvey-landfall/index.html

page photo courtesy of Reuters