The Transylvania Times -

Harvey's Silver Lining


August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey and its remnants are proving to be a catastrophe for the people living along the Texas coastline and further inland. The number of confirmed deaths due to Harvey are climbing daily. There is no telling how many more drowning victims will be found once the water begins to recede and people return to now flooded neighborhoods.

While the death and destruction wreaked by this storm is immeasurable, there is one silver lining – the efforts made by everyday citizens to help one another.

The effort of those men and women who work for governmental agencies in these scenarios is greatly appreciated. North Carolina and other states, as well as the federal government, have sent trained professionals, helicopters and other materials and supplies to assist in the rescue operations. All of these individuals are putting in incredibly long hours and many of them are putting their own lives at risk.

But the simple fact is that due to this historic rainfall and flooding, the number of people seeking assistance has overwhelmed government agencies. For the past several days those calling 911 basically have been told that unless they are in immediate danger of death, they will have to wait their turn.

Fortunately, volunteers from nearby and miles away have provided assistance. On Monday morning, the Louisiana Cajun Navy posted a request on its Faceook page for anyone “willing and able to start mobilizing towards Texas with equipment – surface drive, flat bottoms, air boats, etc. to start heading towards Pasadena, Texas.” Other individuals who belong to no formal or informal organization also have brought their shallow water boats to the area and spent hours rescuing people. Some of those who escaped the floodwaters themselves have gone back to rescue others.

Other people have opened up their homes and businesses for the displaced. According to CNN, one Houston man who owns two furniture and mattress stores that also have their own restaurants is providing people a place to eat and sleep for free. News reporters and staff who were sent to cover the event have shifted from reporting to rescuing others whenever needed. People are doing whatever they can to help one another.

It’s not just those in the immediately affected area. Anheuser-Busch began shipping drinking water from its brewery in Catersville, Ga. Locally, Oskar Blues Brewery, through its CAN’d Aid Foundation, plans to send 88,000 cans of clean drinking water to the area. Local churches, such as Anchor Baptist, are collecting various goods and preparing to deliver them to those in need. Other local and regional organizations are also offering assistance.

Natural disasters such as Harvey cause numerous deaths and massive destruction, often putting survivors in positions where they must endure years of sacrifice in order to regain the lives they once had. But the silver lining is that most Americans, with no questions asked, do whatever we can to help. We do not ask about the victims’ political affiliations or religious beliefs or anything else that too frequently divides us. We simply reach out and offer a helping hand. And in doing so, we extend and confirm our humanity.


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