Hurricane Harvey slammed into the coast of Texas over the weekend, leaving at least eight dead and thousands displaced in its wake of devastation. While the nation watches, Houston, the fourth-largest city in the U.S., is transforming into an underwater wasteland, with days of rain left to come.
Unlike many other cities in Harvey’s path, Houston did not order evacuations before the storm—the last time a significant hurricane was predicted to hit the city, Rita in 2005, officials ordered citizens to evacuate. According to local newspaper the Chronicle, around 2.5 million people hit the road at the same time, clogging highways for nearly a day. Officials later reported at least 60 people died on the road due to heat conditions and dehydration after being stuck in traffic. The decision to not evacuate this time has left countless residents trapped in flooding homes.
Celebrities have sprung into action, like Kevin Hart, who pledged $25,000 and challenged others to donate, to Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who donated $100,000 and started a fundraiser to assist further. As someone who's frequently called Houston a second home, Drake took to Instagram to make a statement about the historical devastation, which has been called "unprecedented" by the National Weather Service.
"I encourage everyone to do what they can to assist the people of Texas knowing whatever effort you can make to help will go a long way," Drake wrote.
On that note, if you're someone who has the means to help, here's how you can assist:
- If you live in the Houston area and have a high-water safe boat, you are being asked to immediately help with rescue efforts.
- In you're not in the area, you can donate money to the American Red Cross, via its website or by text, to 90999. Apple is also letting users donate to the American Red Cross directly on iTunes and in the App Store.
- In addition to money, Red Cross is also seeking blood donations. Carter BloodCare and South Texas Blood and Tissue Center are local organizations in Texas also accepting blood donations.
- Americares is delivering relief supplies and working with a local clinic in Houston. You can donate to the Connecticut-based emergency response organization here.
- All Hands, a nonprofit, has staff on the ground in Texas, and is in contact with emergency management officials. You can give here.
- Crowdfunding site Global Giving is attempting to raise $2 million for funds that will "exclusively support local relief and recovery efforts from this storm." You can contribute here.
- Airbnb has launched a site connecting people looking for a place to stay with those who can offer shelter. Anyone who checks in before Sept. 1 will have their lodging fees waived.
- United Way of Greater Houston has set up a relief fund that you can access here; the organization's first priority is shelter and basic needs, but it will also be focusing on long-term recovery efforts.
- SPCA of Texas, Austin Pets Alive and the San Antonio Humane Society are assisting with sheltering and helping pets affected by Hurricane Harvey. The Humane Society of the United States also has a team on the ground in Houston and affected areas—you can donate to them here.
- Additional donations for disaster relief can be made to the Texas Diaper Bank, Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi and the Salvation Army.
The Chronicle has an extensive list of additional ways to donate and assist.