The Impact of Hurricane Harvey
Who would have thought that a trip so special can easily turn into one of the most nerve wrecking experience in my life?
As much as I would like to write about my recent trip to Iceland, I just felt like it was more important for me to write about the event that happened in my city during my trip to Iceland. As many of you know, the Texas coast was badly hit by hurricane Harvey. With the rainfall dumping nearly 27 trillion gallons of water. This was definitely one of the most damaging natural disasters in U.S. history.
Before The Storm
Thursday, August 24, 2017 - I turned 28. I woke up that morning with excitement knowing in just a few hours, my husband and I will be celebrating my birthday in Iceland that we booked a few months ago. I knew hurricane Harvey was coming our way, but I wasn't too worried about it. Due to multiple hurricane threats that we experienced before, we thought it would be one of those that will last for a day or two then everything will go back to normal. We had no idea what we were dealing with at the time.
Without any worry, we packed our bags, got ready and headed to the airport that afternoon. Upon boarding, I saw the looked on my husband's face. It was a sign of worry. Harvey was expected to hit Friday night or Saturday morning with the possibility of flooding the whole city. We started receiving multiple text about how bad it was going to be and how it might be one of the worst hurricane that US is going to experience. Getting these text and hearing about the news at the same time, I started to really worry. The first thing that crossed my mind was, "is my home going to be okay?".
Dealing With Harvey
When we arrived in our hotel, the first thing we did was to get access to the news back home. Every time we get back to our hotel after a day of exploring Iceland, we were quietly monitoring what was going on in Houston. We kept in touch with our friends and family to make sure everyone was okay. Watching the news while being away and not knowing the status of our house was very difficult. There were a few times my eyes got teary watching people leaving their homes due to the rising water inside their homes. I can't help to imagine myself being in their shoes. What would I do if I come home to nothing?
(Photos by Marc A.)
Harvey devastated a region of Texas stretching from Houston area into Louisiana. The city officials said much of Port Arthur, a city of 55,000 people, was under water. The entire city has been flooded. The amount of rain that was dumped on parts of Southeast Texas with 51.88 inches broke the record of 48 inches in set in 1978, literally 1 in 1,000 years.
Here's a video my friend Marc made to share what hurricane Harvey had done to our city.
After The Storm
Our flight to Houston was cancelled and had to re-route to Dallas. We stayed a couple days before we decided to drive back to Houston. When we returned, we were so happy to see our home standing and dry but the surrounding areas were quite devastating.
Houston area was just beginning to recover from the biggest storm in recoded history of the continental United States. Nearly 35,000 people were in shelters and thousands of homes were still submerged. 37 people were dead and many were injured. Houston's floodwaters are receding, but they remain dangerously high in many areas. Many people that were affected by the storm are slowly cleaning up and getting back on their feet. A few military helicopters passes by our house everyday still on a mission to help people who lost so much.
It's not clear yet how many homes have been destroyed, but right now, the estimate cost of repairing residential properties will be about $12 billion dollars. Most of the damage won't be covered by insurance because majority of homeowners doesn't have flood insurance. While coverage is available through federal program, it is possible that many people might not get enough to fully renovate or fix their homes. Some of Houston's oil refineries are closed due to flooded streets and their employees cannot get to them. Gas prices are rising and a possibility that it will continue to rise. The estimates of Harvey's cost will be the most expensive in the U.S. history at over $190 billion dollars surpassing hurricane Katrina at $160 billion dollars.
How You Can Help
I can't express how thankful I am to know that my family and friends are safe and sound. I am also very proud of so many people who worked together to help one another. This is what life is about, loving and caring about one another, even for strangers. I've met a few people who nearly lost everything and still kept a positive spirit that truly touched my heart and set a good example for many. This is proof that no matter what life brings us, we will make it through and stand together strong.
I've donated a few funds to help rebuild the areas affected by the hurricane and if you are willing to donate, you can go here. Any donations will be much appreciated.
"Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is a progress, staying together is success."