It's been more than a week since Hurricane Harvey first made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Texas, and the recovery process is just starting to get underway. Many parts of the coastal region have returned to normal function, while others are still in immediate danger. Updates from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey look promising overall, but there's still a lot of work to be done to make sure that vulnerable communities don't get left behind.
Even nine days after the storm initially hit, there's a lot of immediate need in the affected area because floodwaters are still receding. Much of Houston is still underwater, in addition to dozens of towns along the shore between Houston and the Louisiana border. The damage is so widespread that it's difficult to quantify, but a new estimate from Texas governor Greg Abbot suggests that recovery costs may exceed $180 billion.
But in response to the high levels of need, there have been encouraging offers of help from across the country. People have donated millions of dollars to countless charity drives, organized by both transnational corporations like Disney and private citizens simply selling t-shirts for awareness. The post-Harvey recovery will take years, but these updates indicate that it's off to a strong start.
Texans Are Still Leading The Recovery Efforts Themselves
The state has been praised for its DIY attitude in the wake of the storm — tens of thousands of citizens have pitched in to assist with demolitions, shelter displaced victims, and even perform high-water rescues.
But The Water Is Still Sitting There, And It Could Stick Around For A Long Time
Flooding has particularly debilitated the city of Houston, which received 20 trillion gallons of rainfall in the span of just a few days. Houston mayor Sylvester Turner stated via Twitter that dry apartments still had to be evacuated if the first floor was flooded, because the water might stick around long enough that buildings could suffer destabilizing structural damage.
The Death Toll Of The Storm Has Risen
Authorities have attributed 50 deaths to the storm, and that number could continue to rise as flood waters recede and previously inaccessible areas and structures are investigated.
The Federal Government Is Chipping In
The White House requested $7.9 billion in emergency spending for Harvey recovery on Sept. 1, and the budget is largely expected to be approved.
Which Is Good Because Environmental Sub-Disasters Are Happening Left And Right
The Houston area's prominence in the energy industry means dangerous chemicals can harm the public when the city's infrastructure is damaged. There have been multiple explosions at a chemical plant on the city's east side, and according to the EPA, almost 1/3 of Houston's hazardous waste sites are underwater and may be leaking.
Millions Have Already Been Raised For Charity
It's difficult to track exactly how much people are donating to Harvey relief efforts, but it's a lot. According to CNN Money, businesses had donated $157 million in cash and products to various relief funds as of Sep. 3. Houston Texans football player JJ Watt's foundation has collected $17 million, and Beyonce has incorporated Harvey relief efforts into her BeyGOOD Foundation.
Some Needs Are Met For Now, So Hold Off On Some Donations
Shelters have been inundated with items, especially baby supplies, to the point where they have more supplies than they have people to distribute them to. If you hold of on your donation for a few months, there will be a whole new crop of babies in need. Same thing with the Red Cross — they're receiving so much funding that they can't keep up with allocating it, while other organizations aren't getting enough.
Local Houston Charities Still Need Your Help
Speaking of which, try to focus your monetary donations on local Houston organizations that will get your contribution into the hands of the people who need it the fastest.
Texas still needs a lot of help, so be vigilant about your response to this disaster. The more everyone pitches in, the sooner people start living again instead of just surviving.