You may get a chuckle out of this picture of a cat swimming because we all know how much cats hate water, but once you realize that this cat had no choice and is a survivor of Hurricane Harvey it isn’t quite funny. Photographer Scott Olson captured this deeply pissed off pussycat paddling through the water, and it didn’t take long for it to go viral. This feline has now become an online poster child for resilience, adapting to adversity with strength, resolve and sass.
On Friday, August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, with wind gusts observed up to 132 mph along the Gulf Coast, causing mass devastation and catastrophic flooding to communities in Texas and Louisiana. The local National Weather Service office in Houston observed an all-time record daily rainfall accumulation on both August 26 and 27, measured at 14.4 inches and 16.08 inches respectively. Harvey made landfall 3 times– twice as a hurricane in Texas and once more as a tropical storm in southwestern Louisiana.
Harvey has caused at least 66 confirmed deaths; including a Houston police officer, a family trapped in a van beneath surging floodwater, and a mother whose shivering 3-year-old was found clinging to her unresponsive body. One million people were forced to evacuate their homes as water inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues including pets. According to the American Red Cross, approximately 32,000 people were displaced in shelters across the state of Texas by August 31 with no idea when they can return home.
With its torrential rain, devastating winds and widespread flooding, Hurricane Harvey could potentially be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. FEMA director Brock Long called Harvey the worst disaster in the state of Texas history, and expected the recovery to take many years. Economic losses are preliminarily estimated at between $70 to $190 billion, with a large portion of the losses sustained by uninsured homeowners-80 percent of Texans don’t have flood insurance. The Texas Department of Public Safety stated more than 185,000 homes were damaged, 9,000 destroyed and nearly 700 businesses were damaged as well.
It is one week after the storm and the danger isn’t over. Survivors face hurdles and consequences left by Harvey. There are debris everywhere-junked cars, houses full of mold, furniture and items destroyed. I worry about their state of mind during this time, things can be replaced-sure, but it is your great grandmothers ring you will never get to pass on to your daughter or your fathers WWII memorabilia that your grandkids will never see. Those heirlooms, precious memories, etc. that are now lost forever.
The floodwaters that people are walking thru contain many hazards to the environment and human health. The Houston Health Department stated that “millions of contaminants” were present in floodwaters, not to mention the snakes and alligators- YIKES!
There were many positive stories that also came out of this disaster. Many unsung heroes emerged during the storm and volunteer efforts continue to grow throughout the United States. Organizations are helping victims every way they can. On Friday, FEMA distributed over 1,900,000 meals and 1,960,000 liters of water. The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United States Equestrian Federation, Humane Society of the United States, Catholic Charities USA, AmeriCares, Operation BBQ relief, many celebrities, and many other charitable organizations have provided and continue to help to the victims of the storm. The need is great, and our desire to help is strong in times of disaster, but be sure to donate responsibly. Donate money and time to trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organizations only.
The survivors will struggle for a long time with the aftermath of Harvey, keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
To do our part, Girl Talk Marlton in conjunction with The Unforgotten Haven, will be collecting feminine products. If you would like to donate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our site www.girltalkmarlton.org Thank you!
Mary Beth of Girl Talk Marlton