HURRICANE HARVEY VICTIMS
By: Mehran Kooshiar
On August 26th, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston, Texas, leaving the city looking like a warzone. Within days the George R. Brown Convention Center, NRG Park, and Lakewood Church were overflowing with victims of the disaster. How it all started was very unexpected. On August 17th, Harvey turned into a tropical depression, but little did we know in 9 days it would make landfall in Texas as a major category 4 hurricane.
Scientists remained puzzled on one very important question: how did it all begin? On Thursday, August 4th, Harvey passed over a region with extremely warm seawater called an eddy. This ultimately causes changes in the hurricane’s temperature that leads it to expand and have the ability to cause more damage. Afterwards, the next four days would destroy southern Texas. Over 176,000 people were left in the hands of FEMA. 30,000 people needed temporary homes, while 72,000 people were rescued, which left 100,00 homes destroyed.
One of the victims, Jake Wolff, who lives in Meyerland, went with his family to stay with his relatives across town in fear of the floods. According to Jake, “Both houses got about 3 feet of water, up to the waist area. This time is incredibly hard on all of us and it is never easy to have to go through your ruined house and throw everything out. However, the city is already getting the trash out of the street in our area and many families have already started the long process of rebuilding. We are also going to be seeing many new houses, including those that are going to be lifted, such as ours.” When asked about what to say to other victims, he replied, “It is all just stuff that can be replaced and rebuilt. We need to move on from this, and in the end, we will become better people because of this experience.”
Overall, Harvey’s catastrophic, 70 billion dollar debt to the U.S. government left homes, apartments, offices, parks, schools, and cars under water. Today, Houston is still recovering from the disaster that struck during Harvey. Over 300,000 people have lost their homes, loved ones, cars, and pets to the flood waters. Neighborhoods across the city with low elevation and close proximity to the bayous such as Braeswood, Meyerland, Bellaire, Memorial, and Woodland Heights are left with homes with garbage in front of their houses. Downtown and Uptown Houston also got affected by flood waters, leaving offices, hotels, apartments, and shops destroyed by floodwaters. In some areas, the situation was so bad that some people had to be saved by canoes and boats. Additionally, the Coast Guard rescued people from the flooded houses in South Houston. Currently, over 500,000 people in Houston don’t have a place to stay due to the flood waters that destroyed houses all over the city. Although nearly 2 months have passed since this horrific storm, the aftermath still haunts the community.
In loving memory of the 77 lives lost to Hurricane Harvey.