Disaster relief for Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Texas gulf coast as a Category 4 hurricane bringing 24 inches of rain in the first 24 hours.

Due to widespread flooding, early estimates indicate that 30,000 people will be forced from their homes to seek safety.
Most neighborhoods are inundated and thousands of people have their houses flooded
with more than a few feet of water.

“Houston flooding may be the worst we have ever seen. The loss is
in billions of dollars”. – said Texas Governor Gregg Abbott

As of Monday morning, August 28, Louisiana has declared a state of emergency as the storm continues on its path.
The city of Rockport took the Category 4 hurricane head-on with winds blowing at more than
130 miles per hour. Corpus Christi and Houston are expected to get 50 inches of rain.

Houston’s world-renowned health care infrastructure found itself battered by Hurricane Harvey, struggling to treat storm victims while becoming a victim itself.
Water poured into hospitals. Ambulances were caught up in roiling floodwaters. Medical transport helicopters were grounded by high winds.
The coming days will inevitably bring more hazards for storm-damaged hospitals and nursing homes, and their patients and staff.

The response to Harvey, now a tropical storm but still wreaking havoc over the state, promises answers to whether health officials learned lessons from the catastrophe of Katrina when it comes to the medically vulnerable , in particular whether they did enough to prepare for the disaster and to move patients out of its path.

“We’ve made significant investments,” Dr. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County’s public health department, said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “The challenge is until it unfolds there’s so many moving pieces and it’s never the same as the situations you’ve previously encountered.”

Many organization have stepped up in response to the emergency and offered their services to those affected.  Indian businesses and
places of worship have opened their doors to give shelter to displaced families. Indian restaurants and
individual families are providing free packets of freshly prepared Indian food.

The President of Sewa International’s Houston Chapter, Gitesh Desai said, “The residents of
Houston are staying strong through the crisis and coordinating citizen-led efforts to help thousands of
people who are stranded in flooded houses without food and water.”

BAPS Charities is responding to this call to action in Houston and surrounding areas as the organization and its volunteers are working alongside local state officials and first responders to provide assistance.

Here is a list of organizations to contact for those who wish to volunteer or donate for the cause or reach out for assistance if needed.

American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund: www.redcross.org/Disaster-Relief/Hurricane
SEWA International Houston Chapter: http://www.sewahouston.org/
The Salvation Army: http://disaster.salvationarmyusa.org
BAPS Charaties Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: http://www.bapscharities.org/usa/harveyrelief

IF you are not able to connect with 911 for an emergency you can try these resources for assistance:

  1. HPD: 1-713-884-3131
  2. Elderly & Disabled: 211
  3. Federal Disaster Assistance: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); TTY 1-800-462-7585www.fema.gov
  4. Office Of Emergency Management: 1-713-884-4500 or 311; http://www.houstonemergency.org
  5. Coast Guard: 1-713-578-3000
  6. CG Local Help Center: 1-281-464-4854
  7. Resources for evacuees, contact American Red Cross: 1-800-975-7585713-526-8300
  8. Centerpoint Energy: 1-800-752-8036
  9. Texas Attorney General: 1-800-621-0508