The rain is slowing.
The waters are still rising.
This is the disaster that doesn’t end.
Five days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas, the situation remains as dire as ever.
Some residents who evacuated their homes on Saturday and Sunday are already returning home to start the long process of cleaning and renovating.
But what makes this disaster especially unreal is that it is only just beginning for others.
Residents who thought they were safe over the weekend now find themselves awaiting rescue as their homes are overtaken by new flooding.
Hurricane Ike was terrifying, but it was over in two days for Houston and we were able to start picking up the pieces.
Harvey, on the other hand, is one stubborn a-hole. He just won’t leave.
Every time we think the rain is on it’s way out, the wind kicks up again and the clouds unleash their fury.
And even as Harvey finally lumbers away, distancing himself from a battered Houston, the devastation he leaves in his wake continues to unfold.
Planned releases from area dams unleash more water into an already over-saturated city. Water that floods some to save the many. We just don’t know yet how many will end up on the “safe” side.
So we wait.
Until we get word that the rivers are receding, we won’t be safe.
Only when I see it with my own eyes, will I feel safe.
Because today, this is what I see:
These photos are three stoplights away from our house. It’s difficult to capture how far the water stretches — it goes beyond where the eye can see. And we are not a coastal area.
Three blocks separate us from disaster.
On Sunday, it was only inches that separated us from becoming evacuees. Six inches of concrete kept the water from coming right in our front door.
These guys tried to get in our front door too. Even the roaches weren’t safe. And they survive everything.
As we fought off rising floodwaters, the bugs and spiders made a mad dash for our house. I’ve never seen anything like it.
And while I sure didn’t invite them in, I didn’t try to kill them either.
We were all just trying to make it.
It is a humbling experience to come so close to losing so much.
And yet, there are countless others who did.
It could have just as easily been us.
As we sit and wait, we check in with friends and family who are in a sense so close, but might as well be in another state.
We can’t reach them.
We keep in contact with texts messages. Phone calls are not always possible with sporadic cell service. Some of us still can’t leave our houses, or our neighborhoods.
The brand new rivers and lakes that are strangling our city also keep us separated from the ones we love and the ones who need us.
Each of us is essentially on our own island — and that is not a just a figure of speech.
Each on Our Own Island, but Houston Strong
I might not be able to reach my friends, but I know they are in good hands.
Our first responders are like none other.
Our neighbors from other cities and states are unmatched in their generosity and bravery.
As I watch the local news which is our link with the rest of our beleaguered city, I am heartened to see those who have dropped everything to answer the call.
Some in uniform, some in street clothes. All with one goal: to save our people and rebuild our city.
Race, religion, political leanings are all irrelevant when faced with a common enemy.
Houston is a model for how to get it done. #HoustonStrong
How you can help:
- Donate blood (click here for more info on where)
- Donate cash to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (created by Mayor Sylvester Turner through the Greater Houston Community Foundation
- Support the Houston Food Bank
- Keep checking in with friends and family — even if you can’t physically reach them yet, they need your support in any way, even kind words