August 31, 2017 [Scroll down for links and resources] – Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting emergency relief efforts of affected dioceses in Texas following Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Texas coast as a category 4 storm when it made landfall on August 25 and became the largest rainstorm in US history. To date, 30 deaths have been reported, and the storm has caused massive flooding and destruction and forced thousands from their homes.
In partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Episcopal Relief & Development is responding to the immediate needs of people in the Greater Houston area, including Galveston. With this support, the diocese will provide temporary housing for 50 families, recruit volunteers to help clean out homes and deploy trained, spiritual care teams to reach out to people evacuated to the George R. Brown Convention Center and in other hard-hit areas. These teams are also distributing gift cards to help with purchasing food, basic supplies and necessities. The organization’s US Disaster Program staff has been in regular contact with affected dioceses in Texas and Louisiana.
“Our church partners are providing critical assistance and caring for their neighbors in the aftermath of this devastating storm,” said Robert Radtke, president of Episcopal Relief & Development. “I am deeply grateful to them and to our community of faithful supporters for their compassion and enormous generosity.”
The storm has complicated relief activities. More than 50 inches of rain has fallen since Harvey first hit the Texas coast, equivalent to the state’s total annual rainfall. Although downgraded to a tropical storm and then to a tropical depression, heavy rain continues to fall as the National Weather Service warns that “catastrophic and life threatening flooding continues in Southeastern Texas and portions of Southwestern Louisiana.” While rains have ended in most of Texas, the complete impact has yet to be determined as the storm continues to linger, with dams overtopping and streets and highways overwhelmed with flooding.
“Our response to Hurricane Harvey is ongoing and we are extremely proud of the work of our church partners who are meeting urgent needs in these early days,” said Katie Mears, Director of Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program. “As they continue to conduct assessments locally, we stand ready to support them in the weeks and months ahead.”
Please continue to pray for families and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey, those who have lost their lives, and all of those impacted by the storm.
Donate to the Hurricane Harvey Response Fund to help Episcopal Relief & Development assist local partners in responding to critical needs.
For Bulletin Inserts and other Hurricane Harvey resources, visit episcopalrelief.org/harvey.
Six Ways to Help
Here are six ways to support the work of Episcopal Relief & Development and to support the post-disaster response.
1. Donate to the Hurricane Harvey Response Fund to support impacted dioceses as they meet the needs of their most vulnerable neighbors after this event:
2. Please don’t send food, clothing or other items! Donations such as these can actually become more of a burden on the local diocesan leaders than a benefit. The most efficient option is supporting the local economy to respond.
3. Sign-up on the “Ready to Serve” page to register as a possible volunteer in the future. These are the lists Episcopal Relief & Development staff share with dioceses when they are ready to recruit external volunteers: https://www.episcopalrelief.org/what-you-c…/…/ready-to-serve
4. Read Rob Radtke’s Blog on best response practices:
5. Pray for all affected by Hurricane Harvey and get the latest program updates on Facebook and Twitter (use the ID @EpiscopalRelief) and episcopalrelief.org
6. Share the Sunday bulletin inserts (English and Español): http://www.episcopalrelief.org/church-in-action/worship-resources/bulletin-inserts
Presiding Bishop Curry: “Our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana need our help”
View the video message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry about Hurricane Harvey relief