Record-breaking flooding in Houston and throughout much of Texas continues as Hurricane Harvey leaves homes and lives shattered in its wake. It is a heartbreaking situation. Thus far, more than 40 inches of rain has fallen since Thursday in Houston, with storm totals expected to exceed 50 inches. The New York Times quotes Texas Governor Gregg Abbott as he calls the situation on the ground one of the “largest disasters America has ever had to face.” The president and first lady are visiting the area today to see the extent of the damage and to bolster the flagging spirits of first responders and citizens. They arrive in Corpus Christi first before going on to Austin.
LN Contributor Josee Cox was on the ground to help after the Hurricane Katrina tragedy and finds herself in Houston during Harvey. Liberty Nation caught up with her today for this first-hand report from downtown Houston:
LN: OK so you’re in downtown Houston proper?
Ms. Cox: I am seeing some car activity today although there was absolutely nobody driving on Sunday. The water was up over the fire hydrants, so the cars were just floating. The water has receded. Yesterday there was a little traffic, and today it’s moving well in spite of the fact that it’s still pouring rain. I see people getting discharged from the hospital. They must really want to go home because if you look at the map of all the blocked roads around, the major arteries leaving, I don’t know where they live. A lot of the staff stayed here, is staying here. They’re sleeping and taking turns on shifts. Some of the staff at Houston Methodist is staying at the same hotel where I’m staying.
LN: You actually went down to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Tell us a little bit about how this situation compares to that.
Ms. Cox: I went to Hurricane Katrina probably about six weeks after it hit. I volunteered to go down and help with the Salvation Army. At that point, they were definitely in the cleanup stages. I was in Gulfport, and it seemed like a much smaller area than Houston, and what we’re seeing on the news is all the way from Corpus to Galveston to North Houston. It’s a huge area. What we saw in Hurricane Katrina that I’m not seeing down south was all the devastation. The broken windows, the destroyed buildings, the trees down. I’m not seeing that here. That’s probably close to the Corpus and Arkansas and where the hurricane actually hit. Here it’s mostly water, not wind damage. Water is obviously catastrophic, but buildings are still standing.
LN: All right. Do you have any final thoughts for our readers about the situation in Texas today?
Ms. Cox: Oh, man. Be grateful for your warm bed and your hot showers and your pillows. It’s that small a detail that makes a good life. I just really feel for all of these people. There are 5,000 people right now in the convention center without even these things. We’re accommodating more by the end this storm. My brother lives about 40 miles north of here. They’ve had 28 inches of rain, and lots of their friends have had to evacuate. And most won’t be able to go back with their families for probably a couple of months. I would say don’t send anything right now. This is all about immediate needs. Give money to the organizations you trust and have faith because they’re really going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting. It’s going to take quite a while. Don’t lose interest in this because it’s easy to lose interest after the storm is done and the airports [inaudible] again, but these people are going to need help for a long, long time.
LN: You have long been involved with the Salvation Army. Are they of any help in a situation such as this?
Ms. Cox: They are really great at first response, and they have been sending teams down there. The Salvation Army not only provides the goods and practical aid but provides the added benefit of spiritual services as well through much welcome love and prayer during this time. I have seen countless people fall into their arms and ask for prayer for strength.
LN: Thank you so much for your time, Mrs. Cox. Stay safe!
For more information or to donate, you can go to the Salvation Army’s website.