South Florida hosts re­lief ef­forts for Har­vey sur­vivors

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By ISHEKA N. HAR­RI­SON ihar­ri­son@sfltimes.com PLEASE NOTE: If you have a re­lief ef­fort that is not listed, email news@sfltimes.com to have it posted online.

MI­AMI –When Hur­ri­cane Har­vey made land­fall in Texas as a Cat­e­gory 4 storm,res­i­dents knew they would face dev­as­ta­tion.

How­ever, in the days that fol­lowed, Hous­ton, the fourth largest city in the United States, and its sur­round­ing ar­eas have been rav­aged by flood waters. Thou­sands of peo­ple – in­clud­ing women, chil­dren and the el­derly – are still stranded, wad­ing through sewage in­fused wa­ter while res­cue crews are work­ing tire­lessly to save lives.Of­fi­cials re­ported the death toll at 30, in­clud­ing a fam­ily of six,as of 2:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day.

Peo­ple have taken to so­cial me­dia in des­per­ate at­tempts to lo­cate loved ones, call for help and/or have it dis­patched.

The tor­ren­tial rains from Har­vey con­tin­ued in Texas and Louisiana through Wed­nes­day mak­ing an al­ready dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion even more dire.

The rest of the coun­try is watch­ing and pray­ing, feel­ing an eerily fa­mil­iar sense of heart­break, akin to the one most Amer­i­cans felt 12 years ago while watch­ing the hor­rors of Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina when it pum­meled New Or­leans.

The re­lief ef­fort in Texas is more or­ga­nized, but there is still much work to do. While re­ports state over 9,000 have been res­cued, many re­main trapped by flood­wa­ters and shel­ters are filled be­yond ca­pac­ity.

Hous­ton’s mayor Sylvester Turner and Lake­wood Church mega­pas­tor Joel Os­teen have come un­der fire for not evac­u­at­ing the city and not im­me­di­ately open­ing the church’s doors as a shel­ter, re­spec­tively. Turner said he stands by his de­ci­sion as try­ing to evac­u­ate so many peo­ple at the last minute would have proven more cat­a­strophic.

Os­teen has since re­leased a state­ment say­ing he and his wife “care deeply about our fel­low Hous­to­ni­ans. Lake­wood’s doors are open and we are re­ceiv­ing any­one who needs shel­ter.”

Many peo­ple have lost every­thing and time is of the essence since res­i­dents stuck in the flood­ing are ex­posed to nu­mer­ous health risks.

With Texas’ gover­nor Greg Ab­bott stat­ing it will take years to re­build, it is ev­i­dent the peo­ple of Hous­ton and other ar­eas af­fected by Har­vey will need all of the help they can get.

South Florid­i­ans are among those an­swer­ing

that call. Be­low are a few ways South Florid­i­ans can join the re­lief ef­fort lo­cally.

The Arch­dio­cese of Mi­ami is ask­ing for mem­bers of all 109 parishes to do­nate money to a spe­cial col­lec­tion to be taken up this week­end, Sept. 2-3 to en­able lo­cal church re­lief agen­cies to pur­chase in bulk the items that are most needed – wa­ter,food, build­ing sup­plies, tents, tarps,beds etc.– and truck them quickly to the most af­fected ar­eas. Do­na­tions of food,wa­ter or other sup­plies will not be ac­cepted.

Stand Up Mi­ami is col­lect­ing do­na­tions of cloth­ing, shoes, un­der­wear, socks, in­fant for­mula, sham­poo and con­di­tioner, oint­ment, soap, lo­tion, tow­els and wash cloths, baby wipes, hy­giene prod­ucts (tooth­paste and tooth­brushes, fem­i­nine prod­ucts, etc.) and more. Items can be de­liv­ered to House ofWings,1039 NW 3rd Av­enue, Mi­ami, Florida 33136, be­tween noon and 4 p.m. Mon­day through Satur­day.

United Way of Mi­amiDade and The Mi­ami Her­ald/El Nuevo Her­ald have ac­ti­vated Op­er­a­tion Help­ing Hands to sup­port the re­sponse, re­cov­er­ing and re­build­ing ef­forts in the ar­eas af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey in Texas and other ar­eas that may be im­pacted by this pow­er­ful storm. To make a dona­tion visit www.unit­ed­waymi­ami.org; call 305643-2501 or 2-1-1; or send a check payable to Op­er­a­tion Help­ing Hands, c/o United Way of Mi­amiDade, P.O. Box #459007, Mi­ami, Florida 332459007. The Greater Mi­ami Jewish Fed­er­a­tion is ac­cept­ing mone­tary do­na­tions to help the re­lief ef­fort. Dona­tion checks should in­clude the note “Hur­ri­cane Har­vey Re­lief Fund.”They can be mailed to the Greater Mi­ami Jewish Fed­er­a­tion, 4200 Bis­cayne Blvd., Mi­ami, FL 33137. Call 305-576-4000 or visit www.jew­ish­mi­ami.org/gift/hur­ri­cane_ha rvey

There are also many other lo­cal re­lief ef­forts un­der­way in the tri-county area. The sfltimes.com web­site will be up­dated as in­for­ma­tion be­comes avail­able. Res­i­dents can also do­nate through the Amer­i­can Red Cross by vis­it­ing red­cross.org, call­ing 1-800-733-2767 or tex­ting HAR­VEY to 90999.You can give through The Sal­va­tion Army by vis­it­ing help­sal­va­tion­army.org, call­ing 1-800-725-2769 or tex­ting storm to 51555.

PHOTO COURTESY OF YOUTUBE.COM

Res­cue boats fill a flooded street as flood vic­tims are evac­u­ated dur­ing Trop­i­cal Storm Har­vey.

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