“GET OUT NOW!”
That was the message Tuesday morning to residents of Brazoria County south of Houston after the levee at Columbia Lakes in that county had been breached.
It’s just the latest in a series of dire warnings that have been issued to residents in south Texas since Harvey roared onto the coast as a category 4 hurricane and then seemingly stopped, dropping rain on the south Texas coast – particularly the Houston area – that has been measured in feet rather than inches.
Harvey has given us a glimpse of polar opposites. First, it has shown us the worst of what weather can do, bringing the nation’s fourth largest city to a soggy standstill. On the other hand, it has shown us some of the best we have within ourselves as hundreds of people have responded to calls for boats and vehicles that can traverse the high waters.
On Saturday, a man brought his boat to join in the rescue efforts. When asked what he planned to do, his answer was simple.
“I’m going to save lives,” he said.
He is not alone. There are many who have demonstrated selflessness in the face of this disaster (the word doesn’t seem to do this situation justice) but there is still much to be done.
As late as Monday night, individuals were still trapped in their Houston-area homes, held hostage by the high water. There is no way of knowing how many have been rescued nor how many remain in their inundated homes.
We can only pray that the second number is small.
So far, the reported loss of life is shockingly low in what, to the viewer’s eye, has been the worst of weather nightmares. But one can’t help but believe the death toll is going to go up.
And Harvey isn’t done with his devastation yet.
From Houston, he’ll move into east Texas and from there into Louisiana. He has cities like Lake Charles and, yes, New Orleans in his sights.
As the scope of the disaster becomes better known, there will be a multitude of relief efforts undertaken. Already, Eclectic United Methodist Church is taking part in the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s Cleaning Kit and Hygiene Kit Drive, collecting materials for flood victims to clean their homes as well as hygiene items for the victims themselves. Pastor Rob Gulledge at Eclectic United Methodist says he will be reaching out to other churches for their participation.
In the wake of Charlottesville and the division that it fomented among us, isn’t it strange that a natural disaster can serve to bring us closer together? It seems Americans can’t help it: When we see our brother or sister in need, we are moved to whatever – be it a large gesture or small – to help out.
It seems a shame that it takes such a time of great need to bring us all together and realize the most important gift of all – life.
Please, do what you can, be it large or small, to help our fellow Americans in Texas who are in the midst of great suffering. Rests assured the ways that you can help will be made widely known.
Remember, to us it may be just an image on television, but to thousands it’s their reality.