For the past couple of days, Hurricane Harvey has devastated thousands of people in Texas and left them helpless and desperate. I am moved that there are so many willing to help and donate their things to help all the people affected, but this post is for those who still need help. To make sure they stay as safe as possible in this tough time, and also for those trying to help.
Don’t Donate to the Red Cross or Salvation Army
I know this may sound terrible at first and even mean spirited, but this tip is for good reason. The Salvation Army and Red Cross profit from your donations and only give a small percentage to the victims of tragedies. For example, the Red Cross only built 6 houses in Haiti after receiving almost half a million dollars in donations after the earthquake. You are better off donating to a local charity or supply drive in your area that you know will directly benefit victims. Salvation Army and Red Cross only give pennies of your dollar to people affected.
Don’t swim in the water
The water poses a serious threat to anyone who swims in it. At all costs, if you can, avoid swimming in the water.
- Snakes and alligators from bays and other bodies of water can find their way into the flood waters of the hurricane and could be swimming in the street. Since the water isn’t clear- you can’t see through it, and there’s a chance that these animals could be in the water.
- If you can believe, many diseases can be found in the waters. Online, pictures have been circulating of a hospital that was completely flooded, and blood was coming from the entrance. To avoid getting diseases that can be transmitted by blood, like HIV, stay away from the water (I know HIV can only live outside the body for only a couple minutes, but still the risk stands). There’s also flesh eating bacteria that can permanently destroy your limbs in the water.
- Fallen power lines are also in the hurricane’s waters, and you can easily get tangled up, stuck in or electrocuted by them.
- Plain and simple, the water is just dirty. Regurgitated sewer water, waste from various types of disposal and mud contaminates the water and is not at all healthy to be in. Just please, don’t go in the water.
If you are Able to get out, do it
I know that it’s not easy to just pack everything up and just leave your belongings behind, but it’s important to know you can. I’ve seen cases online where immigrants are scared to leave Texas because they’re scared of being stopped at checkpoints and turned in to the ICE. This was a huge issue during the attempted ban of Texas’ ‘sanctuary cities’ law, which was blocked by federal judge, Orlando Garcia. The ban could’ve allowed local authorities to detain immigrants so federal agents can take them into custody while the hurricane was still in progress. Recently, the mayor of Houston said he would represent any immigrants brought in by authorities. And then after that, the city of Houston released a statement that they will not ask any immigrants for papers when they come to a shelter. So if this is a reason you were not going to a shelter, you don’t have anything to worry about.
Fill up your gas tanks (if it’s safe)
Colonial Pipeline recently stated that it plans to shut down a line that supplies gasoline to the South due to Hurricane Harvey’s effect on its facilities west of Louisiana. It expects the line to shut on Thursday, and this will lead to empty gas station pumps and inflated prices in Texas. It is not disclosed how long this shut-down will be. So if it is safe and you are able, get to a local gas station and get gas now.
I hope these tips were helpful, and not too late for those in need. Staying safe in times like these will surely pay off in the near future, and help is on the way.