Devastation in the wake of Hurricane Harvey - Relief efforts under way

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As levees threaten to break, Brazoria County tweets, “Get out now!”

The people of Houston, Texas and surrounding areas are being relentlessly pummelled and messed with by Hurricane Harvey – but in the wake of such a monumental tragedy, millions of Texans are coping through the disaster.

Officials and NGOs on the ground are doing everything they can to minimize the damage the Category 4 hurricane is causing and that hit land late on Friday – and is still wreaking havoc. To make matters worse, the rain has not let up, with as much as 26 inches (66cm) of rain falling on South-Eastern Texas in that time – and according to Bill Fletcher of The Goodness Project, who’s on the ground in Houston – they are now expecting another 20.

There is widespread flooding to several counties, and thousands waiting to be rescued – evacuating the city is not an option.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director, Brock Long is calling this disaster, “A landmark event.” And there is still so much unknown about conditions on the ground and how many people need help.

Context spoke with Reed Slattery, national program director for World Vision in the United States, and what he made clear is the very real needs of those who are affected by the hurricane.

Since the Hurricane and flooding began, World Vision has sent supplies from storehouses in Seattle, West Virginia, and today from Dallas to help with the immediate needs.

Supplies that are needed are hygiene kits, pillows, sleeping bags, blankets, food items, and cleaning supplies.

They have also sent World Vision flood kits that include gloves, masks, sponges, bleach, wipes, trash bags, and other general cleaning supplies to help those whose houses have been damaged by the flood. As Bill Fletcher says, “Even when the water recedes in 2 to 3 weeks from now, it’s the mold that the water causes that is most damaging – many buildings will have to be torn down.”

World Vision is also sending in toys, puzzles, books, backpacks, and school supplies. While items like these may seem superfluous when there are such great needs, Reed stresses their importance for helping, “Bringing normalcy to the kids in shelters. When kids are in shelters they can play with toys and it helps take their minds off what is going on.”

Bill Fletcher says there is still a very long way to go for the people affected by this ongoing nightmare – and the biggest concern now are the levees that are threatening to break. According to CNN just moments ago, one levee has in Brazoria County has “breached after inland waterways swelled,” and the county tweeted, “Get out now!”

Disasters like Hurricane Harvey leave many feeling helpless, but Reed assures us that there is a lot we can do,

“First and foremost, we can pray.”

Reed asks for our prayers for the people who are affected and he also asks for prayers for World Vision, that they may be able to get the people required to help with relief efforts.

The other thing we can do is donate money to the relief efforts; Hurricane Harvey is a major disaster and it won’t be cleaned up quickly.

Your donations will help with immediate relief and, eventually, for clean up and rebuilding efforts. To donate please go to: https://donate.worldvision.org/ways-to-give/disaster-relief/disaster-relief-in-the-usa-1?campaigni=/i3100857

Bill Fletcher of the Goodness Project is on the ground in Houston helping victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, visit their website to help:  http://www.teamgoodness.com/

Context continues to monitors the aftermath of the storm – and Lorna Dueck will be interviewing Bill Fletcher on 100 Huntley Street telethon – August 31.

With files from Ashley Crowley.

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