As rescue officials in southeast Texas struggled to respond to the overwhelming destruction wrought by Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday, many people anxiously monitoring the disaster from screens across the country were searching for ways pitch in.
By the time the storm dissipates it will have dumped 25 trillion gallons of rain on the state, says Ryan Maue with WeatherBell, a weather analytics company. National Weather Service officials have used catastrophic language to suggest the storm could be the worst the U.S. has ever seen.
A number of nonprofit organizations are working to mobilize relief for those affected, with some putting a specific focus on more vulnerable communities:
- The American Red Cross is urging people to call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation for those in need.
- The Texas Diapers Bank is putting together relief kits for mothers and children and soliciting financial donations. According to the nonprofit, diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies.
- The national Save the Children campaign has also set up a specific fund for Harvey relief.
- The disaster relief fundraiser Portlight focuses specifically on assisting disabled individuals. “We are already hearing from people being turned away from shelters, denied sign language interpreters and many of the same issues we’ve heard throughout past disasters,” the organization said.
- The SPCA of Texas and Humane Society of North Texas are working to take in that have been animals displaced.
- The Houston Foodbank and Feeding Texas have not set up Harvey-specific campaigns but are mobilizing in response to the disaster.
- Team Rubicon is a national organization that deploys military veterans to aid emergency responders.
- Well-respected international aid organization Direct Relief is mobilizing resources are also mobilizing resources.
- Crowdfunding site Global Giving has set a goal of raising $2 million dedicated to Harvey, and GoFundMe has published a directory of Harvey-related campaigns set up on its platform.
- Those who live in northern Texas and have not been displaced by the storm can donate blood or offer to share their house as shelter on Airbnb.
The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said his agency is already gearing up for a years-long effort to help Texas recover from the damage.
“FEMA is going to be there for years,” administrator Brock Long said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
He added, “This disaster is going to be a landmark event.”
Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, hit southeastern Texas this weekend, and forecasters said it would continue to make its way inland over the course of the next several days.
Although Long has used language echoing the severity of Hurricane Katrina, he said Harvey poses different challenges and was “nothing like” it. He stressed the days-long threat it poses as it makes its way further into Texas.
“This is a storm that the United States has not seen yet,” he said.
Long advised residents on the ground facing the storm to stay on top of local news reports for information and avoid calling 911 unless they are in need of emergency assistance.