Harvey relief efforts just as important as Irma support

After a tragedy occurs, especially on such a large scale, America is very good about joining together to make a difference and help each other. This is profoundly illustrated by the numerous fundraising endeavors that have popped up around the country, and by the incredible resources that were sent to those suffering in Texas.

Hurricane Harvey was the most devastating hurricane to touch down in the United States in 12 years. More than 20 trillion gallons of water rained onto Texas. Over 40,000 people are in shelters after losing their houses. 82 people lost their lives. Governor Greg Abbott activated the entirety of the Texas National Guard in response. Homes were destroyed, memories were swept away, and lives were lost. But amidst this tragic occurrence, it’s important to note that there is a lot of hope.

Several organizations and foundations, both within Texas and otherwise, dedicated their time and energy to providing any form of relief they could to the victims of Harvey. Global Giving set a $5,000,000 fundraising goal, all of which went to Harvey related disasters. The American Red Cross was not only a first responder following the bouts of flooding and destruction, but they are continuing their efforts by offering $400 to families affected within certain high risk counties. The Greater Houston Community Foundation, which works socially to connect donors with nonprofit organizations, set up a special 501(c)3 fund that accepts donations tax-deductible donations.

While there are some who are arguing that focus should have shifted by now to victims of Irma, both in the states and Puerto Rico. I think we have to keep in mind that if we abandon one group of suffering people for another, there will never be a way for any of these people to recover, seeing as how when one devastation is addressed for a period of time, there will inevitably be another circumstance worthy of attention before the first problem is solved.

We should of course be allocating time, money and resources to everyone affected by tragedy. However, that doesn’t mean we have to provide exclusively to the worst off people at any given time. Rebuilding is a process that requires teamwork and long-term support.

Organizations, such as The Red Cross, Global Giving and UNICEF, are still actively present and contributing positively to communities affected by hurricane Irma. Not only are resources being allocated to those suffering in the southern United States, but there are also many necessities being sent and given to those heavily impacted in Puerto Rico. President Donald Trump even praised his former presidential competitor, Marco Rubio, for his extensive contributions to survivors in Puerto Rico. The web of international camaraderie created by these tragic natural disasters is uplifting and inspiring.

As someone whose hometown was heavily affected by this natural disaster, I thank you. Thank you to my high school, which although was partially flooded, still utilized their safe spaces in order to set up an animal rescue center for pets displaced by hurricane Harvey. Thank you to the neighboring cities who banded together to provide shelter and resources to one another. To the musicians who donated their old instruments to school’s whose music programs were devastated. To the local rowing programs that rowed their sculls through the streets looking for anyone in need of assistance. To the Athletic Department and administration at The University of Tulsa who donated funds from ticket sales to sports events totaling $55,000 to The Harvey Relief Effort. Thank you all. We’re not done, but we’ve definitely gotten started.

Post Author: Tori Gellman