Image via ABCNews
Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey is continuing to wreak havoc in Texas. Today it has plunged Port Arthur in over 2 feet of rain in less than 24 hours, and has also hit down in Louisiana. It is a very real, very scary situation for hundreds of thousands of people in the area, who find themselves in quickly rising water – especially those who are elderly, very young, infirmed, disabled, etc., and require aid to leave their homes. At the time of publication, 19 individuals have already been confirmed dead due to the impact of the storm.
For individuals who are without the means or ability to help in-person in the areas affected, and who would like to give aid beyond monetary donations, the popularity of social media and team tools such as Google Drive provide an opportunity.
Carolanne Hornung, a 3Q Social Account Manager, took it upon herself to help dispatch volunteer rescue boats – all the way from Chicago. Below, she explains how she got involved and how others can help.
* Please note that volunteer groups should always defer to local authorities. In several instances, such as in Port Arthur today, local authorities have requested locals with boats to come aid in search and rescue. *
On Monday morning, there was a Reddit post asking for volunteers who were willing to help with data entry. Local Facebook groups were being inundated with pleas for help after those needing assistance had tried everything, like calling 911, police and fire departments, and the Coast Guard, and could not get through because of the high volume of calls. (At one point, the Coast Guard was receiving 1,000 calls every hour).
A Google form had been created allowing people to request rescue, both for life-threatening situations and non-emergencies. This form is currently being used now by both civilian rescue groups like the Cajun Navy or unnamed, unsung heroes, as well government emergency response teams. Because of the high number of responses, data entry quickly turned into dispatch for our civilian rescue groups who needed help in identifying our most urgent requests. We’re now connecting civilian rescue groups (some who have driven from as far as Florida!) with those who are still in need of rescue.
We will continuously need volunteers who are willing to work on outreach for reports as well as basic data entry. If you’re able to spare any free time as we enter the holiday weekend, please consider volunteering with us. The easiest way to get connected is through our Discord chat and ask where our highest current needs are.
Regardless of whether you are near or far from affected areas, please consider making donations to organizations in the area that really need aid. We have listed several options, along with contact information to donate, below.
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner)
American Red Cross:
Text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 via your cellphone bill
The Salvation Army:
Texas Diaper Bank:
Individuals with Disabilities
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies
Central Texas Food Bank:
Houston Food Bank:
SPCA of Texas:
Austin Pets Alive!