Emergency Appeal: Hurricane Harvey

August 30, 2017

Situation

Since it made landfall on the evening of Friday, August 25, Hurricane Harvey has brought torrential rains and heavy flooding to much of Texas and Louisiana. The storm’s death toll now stands at 38 people and more than 8,500 people have been rescued from flooding, according to the New York Times. 

The rain has stopped in Houston, but the storm is not over. The storm made its second landfall on August 30 near the Texas/Louisiana border.  

Total rainfall from the storm is expected to pass 50 inches in some areas. The Washington Post reports that 24,000 National Guard members will be deployed in Texas, about 10,000 of whom are from other states.  

Evacuees and survivors are filling emergency shelters. The New York Times reports that the shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, for example, is hosting 9,000 people displaced by the storm. As of August 30, 32,000 people need temporary shelter. Additionally, CNN reports that 215,000 students are out of school in Houston.

Response

CWS is responding through shipping material supplies and providing support to local organizations in Texas. In partnership with the Texas VOAD and the Red Cross, we anticipate that tens of thousands of CWS Hygiene Kits, School Kits and Emergency Cleanup Buckets will be shipped to affected areas. The most immediate need is for hygiene supplies for people in the shelters. Once the waters have receded and people can re-enter their homes, the need for cleaning supplies and buckets will be significant. We anticipate that students will need school supplies as part of medium- and long-range recovery.  

As of August 29, CWS has just over 1,800 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets in stock and anticipates running out. There is an urgent need for additional buckets to assist in this response. CWS is also preparing to commit most or all of the roughly 140,000 CWS Hygiene Kits that are in stock to Hurricane Harvey response. At that point, there will be a need to replenish the stock.  

Funds from this appeal will be used to ship material goods. 

The CWS Domestic Disaster Response program in the United States focuses on particularly vulnerable immigrant and refugee communities. Our team is working closely with partners in Texas to identify the unique needs of these populations and determine effective strategies to respond. We anticipate a continued information-sharing function as we connect marginalized populations to the information and resources they need to begin recovery. Additionally, CWS will offer grants to long-term recovery groups and other local non-profits in Texas and Louisiana, particularly those that are working to support immigrant, refugee and other vulnerable populations. 

CWS is committed to supporting the long-term recovery of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. As assessed by UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth, “The word ‘catastrophic’ has become synonymous with Harvey. I fully expect recovery will take a minimum of five or more years.”

How to Help

Donations can be made online or can be sent to your denomination or to: 

Church World Service
P.O. Box 968
Elkhart, IN 46515 

Designate 628-G, Hurricane Harvey. 

Information on assembling and shipping CWS Kits and Emergency Cleanup Buckets can be found at cwskits.org.