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The biggest rainstorm in American history is now known as Hurricane Harvey. This monster from Mother Nature has dumped over 24 trillion gallons of water on Texas and Louisiana, killing dozens and leaving devastation for countless Americans.
Areas received over four feet of rain in a matter of a few days, breaching levees, washing away roads and bridges, and leaving scenes that some would call apocalyptic.
Many drinking water systems will be stressed beyond capacity with overflowing reservoirs and dams. These flood waters contain raw sewage, dead animals and petrochemical contamination. Refineries have already reported that many pollutants have been released into the floods. Much of the drinking water infrastructure will fail, causing water shortages.
These waters are plain nasty and the usual side effect of receding flood water is a disgusting stink of rotten vegetation and worse. These areas become the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes which can transmit the Zika virus and other infectious diseases.
If that isn’t bad enough, only 17% of homeowners in the counties hit the hardest by Harvey have flood insurance. Harvey will leave families with destroyed homes and most of their furniture and belongings water damaged or with secondary damage.
Many of these Americans will need to spend money they already don’t have to repair damaged homes and replace life’s necessities. Some may be forced to sell and move and others may not even have a home worth selling.
It’s going to be a long time before many communities can dispose of the mountains of garbage and debris that will line the roads after the typical hurricane. It’s going to be a long time for many to be able to just wake up in their own beds and have the inconsequential conveniences that we all take for granted. It’s going to be an even longer time before many can feel at home again.
We live in the greatest country on earth because Americans always pitch in and help those in need. This time, your neighbors need the help and those of us who can, should try and assist as much as possible. As rescuers are saving others at this very moment, you too can help as well.
You may have seen the very moving photos of people forming a human chain to rescue an elderly neighbor from rising waters … let’s form a human chain of our own across the country and reach out with the support they need. Here are some organizations providing relief and services to this momentous natural disaster. Please help and donate what you can.
American Red Cross
The Salvation Army
The United Way
The Humane Society
Save the Children
The SPCA of Louisiana
Southeast Texas Food Bank, online donations.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief
The SPCA of Texas
Texas Diaper Bank
Mike Popowski is President of PBI Restorations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.