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After the devastation What lies behind the walls of Houston, and what we can DO to help

HOUSE OF 61 YEAR OLD JAMES REDD BEFORE AND AFTER THE HURRICANE IN HOUSTON, WHERE WATER STOOD AT 49 INCHES FOR 9 DAYS STRAIGHT. MANY OF HIS PERSONAL BELONGINGS WERE LOST TO FLOODING.

On August 25, 2017, the 130 mph winds of Hurricane Harvey reached the gulf coast of Texas. For a week, the hurricane survived on land before diminishing, leaving 27 trillion gallons of water along the coast, filling a 140 mile radius area. 2/3 of Houston was flooded, and almost a year later, the remnants of this record breaking storm still remain. Many houses are still empty, with a 5-6 year recovery process ahead.

In the 10 months since Harvey, people from across the nation have made a trip to Houston, rescuing residents from their homes, making donations, and rebuilding and designing houses throughout the area. Immediately following Harvey, 60 churches and other community organizations mobilized to the estimated 135,000 damaged or destroyed homes.

To see a map of where several volunteers traveled to assist in Houston, click here.

Since then, many more have joined the effort to restore the area, including both locals and those from around the world. One volunteer, Melinda Nienhueser mentioned the difference from the outer appearance to the inside of the homes saying, “I was shocked to see that the home owner was still living there, because the inside needed a lot of work. Even those though I would’ve considered it unlivable, she was so happy to be there and have a place to sleep.”

Volunteers Ashton Guess and Nolen Smith work on insulation in a garage in Houston.

Volunteers Nolen Smith and Carson Lee work to put up drywall.

Volunteers begin removing fish from a pool, having been flooded during the storm.

Volunteers Ben Deges and Sebastian Perez work to destroy tile that was ruined during the hurricane. “It was difficult because we had little protective equipment, but it was awesome to see how we impacted the homeowner,” Deges said.

Another volunteer, Ashli Roberts, who worked at the house of a woman named Heleen, mentioned how when she first began to work and talk with the homeowner, she “was extremely overwhelmed with emotions, and could barely make complete sentences.” Roberts also said that after a few hours, Heleen opened up to talking. She was in shock at first, But by the end of the week, Heleen was able to talk normally, and was “obviously healithier” than before.

VOLUNTEER ASHLI ROBERTS WITH HELEEN, A HOME OWNER IN HOUSTON WHO’S HOUSE FLOODED IN THE HURRICANE HARVEY.
61 year old James Redd tells stories of his years in the military and how he reacted to the hurricane.

“It’s like therapy watching the volunteers work,” Redd said. “It’s great to see the kids working but still enjoying the work and having fun.” Redd was much more social, telling stories about his experience arriving at his house after the hurricane.

“I got used to awful smells through the military, and I naturally had a hard stomach, but when I opened the door to my flooded house, I threw up immediately,” he said. “That’s how bad it was.”

Currently, many houses are in the process of getting new insulation, drywall, tape, primer, and paint.

While help is being provided, there is still need for assistance in the area. Many of the survivors are still in shock and need people to show that they care, more so than physical needs.

There are many options to help with mission organizations such as Experience Missions, and many organizations are still accepting donations to help the residents of the area. There are also other natural disasters around the world that need assistance, such as the wildfires in California. It is important to see exactly what organizations are in need of, as many have an overage of certain resources.

You can donate to the Global Giving Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund here.

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