"Harvey Misery"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Monday, September 11, 2017

The images and facts being reported on Hurricane Harvey are heartbreaking and difficult to comprehend.

• The storm was greater than Katrina and Sandy combined.

• Described as "epic," the record rainfall was over 50 inches.

• A chemical fire in Crosby caused additional hazards.

• In Beaumont, a city of 100,000, flooding destroyed both the main and secondary water supplies.

• Only one in five homes in the Houston area were covered by flood insurance.

• A million cars were destroyed, more than during any past disasters.

• Over 100,000 homes were damaged or totally destroyed with many more facing possible condemnation.

A week after the storm hit, weary firefighters in Houston were still going block by block searching for survivors. I saw a convoy of trucks, with millions of bottles of water headed for Houston. I also saw miles of flat bottom boats going to help.

Many relief vehicles were hampered by the floodwaters as they tried to deliver goods. The long-term effects of the storm will be on going for years to come. FEMA is responding, but it is overwhelmed. The whole program is set to expire Sept. 30 unless Congress lends a hand. Overall, it appears our government is responding quickly, having learned many lessons from past storms.

They are providing funds and manpower. The entire Texas National Guard, numbering 12,000, was immediately called out.

Scenes of Coast Guard rescues appear almost hourly, thousands of lives were saved by their efforts — even pets and livestock. It was good to learn that the Energy Department tapped into a million barrels of oil from the reserves.

Something truly appalling was the report that told of scammers prepared to steal funds as soon as the National Weather Service releases names of annual storms. They register URL's so they can swoop in and claim donations.

Some scammers send emails with links that allow malware to take your funds. Please use due diligence and investigate before sending your donations.

Many celebrities and prominent sports people are raising millions of dollars along with hundreds of major corporations. After reading last week's column by Tribune Editor Kate Hessling, I too am proud to be a part of the Hearst family. She relayed that the company donated a $1 million to the Greater Houston Red Cross and will match employee donations dollar for dollar up to another million.

As I see it, all of us are so grateful the loss of life has not been greater — volunteers were everywhere saving people.

Resilience and determination were expressed by one survivor as he commented, "All we can do is quickly get our life together, get a new job a new place to live and get something going again."

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