Far from home
Home was safe, but others not so lucky
Lewisporte native Christine Martin was home for a holiday recently, but her thoughts were with friends and neighbours back in Texas as they battled flood waters.
Christine Martin of Lewisporte was heading back to Texas on Sunday, relieved that her home hasn’t been damaged and eager to help those who were affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“It’s so hard watching it all up here and not being able to do anything to help,” Martin said during a phone interview from Lewisporte on Thursday, Aug. 31. “When I get back I’ll see what I can donate and if I can volunteer somewhere to help.”
The strongest hurricane to hit the United States in over a decade, at least 37 people have died in the disaster, while thousands of others have been displaced from their homes.
Martin lives in Katy — a city west of Houston. She came home to Lewisporte on a planned vacation Aug. 19.
Martin was home almost a week when disastrous flooding hit Houston.
She is thankful for her neighbour back in Texas, who did what he could to prepare the inside of her home for any floods that might occur in her community.
“He lifted all my things off the floor and put it on beds and on tables,” she said.
When residents responded to a voluntary evacuation, the same neighbour took his family and their cat — as well as Martin’s two cats — and left the area.
“They were estimating 10 more inches of rain, which would mean the water would get a lot deeper. But they changed the estimate to only two inches,” she said. “So, they were only out (of their homes) for a night and returned the next day.”
Watching the devastation on the news and through social media has brought stressful days and sleepless nights for Martin.
“When the hurricane was going through, that whole night they had tornado warnings. And there were tornados, not in my community, but in the area in general,” she said.
While her home is safe, Martin said it’s heartbreaking to hear stories about her friends who haven’t been so fortunate.
“One friend, she’s part of my book club, she had two cats on an air mattress,” she said. “Her and her family had to wade out in chest deep water to higher grounds to get rescued.”
Her friend has since returned to her home and is now dealing with the damage caused by the floods.
“Today, they were going to try to rip out the carpets — it’s a big process when your house floods like that,” she said.
Martin is a graduate of Memorial University’s engineering program. After com- pleting a work term in Houston, she took a job there when she obtained her degree in 2002. She’s been living there ever since.
“I’ve been living in my current house 12 years,” she said.
On Aug. 30, the National Hurricane Centre issued an advisory that catastrophic and life-threatening flooding continues in southeastern Texas and portions of southwestern Louisiana.
When asked how people can help those impacted by the hurricane, Martin suggested people pray for those who will be working hard to get their lives back to normal.
That’s going to take time, she said. Estimates are that it will take years for Houston to recover from the disaster.
“A lot of people still have their homes flooded. They will be months trying to recover. And it’s not over yet,” Martin said.
Monetary donations can also be made through the Canadian Red Cross (www. redcross.ca).
Christine Martin, originally from Lewisporte, lives in Katy — a city west of Houston, Texas. She came home to Lewisporte on a planned vacation Aug. 19 and has been in touch with friends and neighbours impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Although her home in Texas is safe, Christine Martin, home for a visit to Lewisporte, says it’s heartbreaking to hear stories about friends who weren’t so lucky.