Hurricane hits home, unity blooms in aftermath

3 months ago , Comments Off on Hurricane hits home, unity blooms in aftermath

With our constant access to social media, news sources, and updates from around the globe, information about our world is always right at our fingertips. While the ability to stay informed on what’s happening at all times can be a positive thing, it can also be a negative thing. It sometimes leads us to see only what the media is most actively covering, which most of the time tends to be all of the things going wrong in the world. Between recent events, involving racial tensions, terrorism, natural disasters, and even threat of nuclear war, our world can seem as if it has become a terribly hateful and scary place to live. However, despite all the horror, destruction, and loss that Hurricane Harvey brought, it also brought one good thing to light: we still have so much love in this world.

For days, Hurricane Harvey blasted through southeast Texas and surrounding states, leaving a path of destruction everywhere it went. On Aug. 31, USA Today reported that there had been 51.9 inches of rain, and the hurricane dumped 24.5 trillion gallons of water on southeast Texas and Louisiana. According to ABC News, an estimated 185,149 homes have been damaged or destroyed, and 42,399 people were in shelters as of Sept. 1. Over 10 thousand people were officially rescued with federal assistance; however, this does not include the many Good Samaritans that did their own, selfless saving. On Sept. 4, the death toll from Hurricane Harvey had risen to at least 60. As flooding recedes, it is still unclear how many people have been affected by this disaster, causing the loss of homes, jobs, workplaces, and even lives. This truly was one of the most horrific natural disasters Texas has ever faced. However, it is simply incredible to watch first-hand the sheer amount of love and support Texans, fellow Americans, and the world has provided to help ease the burdens of those affected by this disaster, as well as attempt to rebuild.

One particularly prevalent example is numerous businesses opening their doors for evacuees. One of the most helpful was Gallery Furniture, which not only provided shelter, but beds, furniture, food, and other donated items to around 300 evacuees, saving around 200 with his own crew, according to CNN.

There was also an impressive number of citizens that donated their time and their boats, risking their own lives to rescue stranded evacuees.

Millions of dollars have already been raised by several different organizations to begin to cover the costs of rebuilding, and communities have come together to provide donations for all those in need. J. J. Watt’s foundation has now raised over $17 million, according to ESPN.com, and the money is still flowing. Many other celebrities are donating large sums, and there are GoFundMe pages and many other organizations that generous citizens are still donating to, whether it be $5 or $500.

Close to home, our own shelter in Huntsville received so many donations and volunteers that they had to ask donators to hold off on giving anything more so that they could first process what they had, and volunteers were put on a waiting list for the chance to join the efforts. There were also many individuals who took it upon themselves to organize specific causes, such as opportunities for people to support classrooms that need to rebuild, animal shelters, and anything else that may be overlooked.

Not only were people rescued, but there were also efforts to ensure that animals were not being left behind, and shelters and other survivors graciously took in many stranded animals. In addition to all of this, there are countless amounts of stories of neighbors and strangers helping and rescuing each other. The most miraculous stories for me are the ones of strangers with no obligation to each other making extreme efforts to save all of those in need. I look forward to continuing to watch our incredible, united community come together and continue to rebuild and recover, and hopefully donate some of my own efforts as well.

Hurricane Harvey was a devastating natural disaster that will take many years, an estimated $190 billion, according to USAToday.com, and tons of support to recover from, and we all would be better off without it happening, particularly those who lost homes, precious belongings, and even loved ones. However, one positive to come from it all is this unequivocal display of love that we have seen over the past week. It has truly been beautiful to see an entire world come together in support of those who have lost so much, regardless of race, religion, politics, or any other seemingly defining qualities. So, as you watch the news and see all of the awful things in the world that so desperately need to be fixed, just try to remember that we are enough. Many have the love and desperation in their hearts to create the peaceful and loving world we so desire. Just keep up the fight, and remember that we’re all just trying to get through this world together.