Hurricane Harvey Update and Relief Efforts
The remnants of Hurricane Harvey are still being felt over much of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana as the slow-moving storm continued to pour record amounts of rain along the coast and inland.
More than 22 deaths have been reported as a result of the Category 4 hurricane that made landfall five days ago in the Texas coastal town of Rockport. The storm is now moving northeast toward Louisiana where more than a foot of rain is expected in many areas and a storm surge warning was posted from Holly Beach to Morgan City where flood-prone areas are being evacuated.
With more than 50 inches of rain falling in Houston and flooding over more than 30 percent of the city, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said more than 30,000 people are being housed in more than 230 shelters in Texas and more than a half million people will have been impacted by the storm in some way.
Many people in the Houston area are taking shelter in the George R. Brown Convention Center, the NRG Center and the Toyota Center.
To the North in Dallas, more than 6,000 Houston evacuees were transported to temporary shelters, including the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center which is set up to accommodate 5,000 people.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for five Louisiana parishes, including Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vermilion where wind and rain is expected to cause damage.
Louisiana is not taking chances.
Lafayette, La. – Karen Primeaux, vice president of convention sales for the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau (Lafayettetravel.com) said: “We are preparing here. Our hearts are with our friends and family in Texas. I would say if people could donate funds to the food banks that would be so helpful as they have so many people to feed. Also, if people could donate hotel points to major brands for housing for evacuees, that would also be helpful as it will be a long time before people will be returning to their homes and many will be living in hotels for a long time.”
Galveston, Texas – The Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (Galveston.com) CMP, Director Meg Winchester was attempting to gather information to determine what will be needed in the community in the coming days.
The Galveston Island CVB posted a Harvey update on its Website with information from the City of Galveston, transportation, hotels and the Port of Galveston. The updates are written by Leah Cast, director of communications with the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Assessments are ongoing, but at this time Galveston is only seeing isolated incidents of water and wind damage. The City is not seeing significant street flooding outside of areas that are typically affected by high tide and rain. The City and its emergency teams are focused on assisting nearby communities on the mainland that have been severely impacted by flooding. On the island, city services have been restored and are operating as usual.”
Casts’ update also includes information that the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry is running with limited services depending on the weather. Scholes International Airport is open.
Many restaurants and shops are still closed and Galveston’s public beach park is closed because of higher tide than normal.
Galveston’s hotels are open, but a few hotels have received minimal water and or wind damage and several hotels are offering discounts for those affected by the storm.
The Port of Galveston is closed to all inbound and outbound traffic. For updates go to www.portofgalveston.com.
Carnival Cruise Lines’ three ships, the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor will stop in New Orleans to allow guest to depart the ship or guests will be allowed to sail back to
Galveston when the port re-opens.
Cruises on August 26 and August 27 have been cancelled.
South Padre Island, Texas – In South Padre Island, CVB Director Keith Arnold with the City of South Padre Island Convention & visitors Bureau said the area was unfazed by Harvey. “We are wide open on all fronts in bright sunshine.”
Corpus Christi, Texas – In Corpus Christi, the Food Bank of Corpus Christi set up a food distribution center at the L&F Distributors to serve the Coastal Bend. President Trump visited the city Tuesday and spoke to a crowd gather in front of Annaville Fire Station #5 promising assistance. The port city is 30 miles from the most severely damaged part of the coast and reportedly suffered light damage.
Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas – Wide-spread flooding was reported throughout Beaumont and Port Arthur, with floodwater forcing evacuees to flee a shelter. Many people are being rescued from homes by citizens with boats following a total of 47.7 inches of rain since the hurricane hit Texas.
Houston, Texas – Houston is now under a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew and rivers and bayous are stabilizing according to the Harris County flood control district.
Lake Charles, La. – A shelter for those displaced by Harvey opened at the Purple Heart Recreation Center in Lake Charles. For more information, call 337-329-5813.
The Salvation Army sent specialized equipment and personnel from Kentucky and Tennessee to Texas and teams are providing services for people displaced by the storms. The Salvation Army said the best way for people to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey is with monetary donations. For more information, visit www.helpsalvationarmy.org or call 1 (800) SAL-ARMY and designate “Hurricane Harvey.” Monetary donations ensure resources reach those impacted as quickly as possible.
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund created by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will accept tax deductible flood relief donations to help victims of the floods. For more information, visit www.ghcfdisaster.kimbia.com
The George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston is open to the public. Parking is available in Tundra, Avenida South and Avenida North garages. The convention center needs the following items:
Comfort Kits – soap, shampoo, toothpaste)
To locate residents in shelter, call the American Red Cross at (832) 523-0425 or visit www.safeandwell.org.
The Red Cross is also assisting in the disaster relief and asks for monetary donations at www.redcross.org or calling 1 (800) Red Cross or texting HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations let the Red Cross respond and help people recover from the disaster.
Volunteers are also needed to help manage shelters, distribute food, water and other items. To volunteer, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.
Citibank – ThankYou Network allows members to redeem points for a cash donation to the Red Cross. Visit Citi ThankYou Rewards.
Discover Cash Back Bonus – Discover card members can donate a cashback bonus to the Red Cross. For more information, visit Discover Cashback Bonus.
Major hotels such as Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Drury, Choice and Club Carlson all offer programs that allow members to donate points for disaster relief. All donations are directed to the American Red Cross.
For more information on food Pantries and Shelter, visit:
www.foodbankcc.com (Corpus Christi)
Pets Need Help, too!
Austin Pets Alive needs help transporting animals from the flooded areas to shelter. Volunteers and monetary donations are needed. Visit www.austinpetsalive.org.
The Houston Humane Society is open with a skeletal crew since many of its employees and volunteers were affected by the storm. For more information, visit www.houstonhumane.org.
Additional information and updates from our friends will be added as information becomes available.