Bringing Hope to Houston

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In the week since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southeastern Texas, the tropical storm has a left trail of devastation in the region. So far, it has claimed nearly 50 lives, flooded 136,000 structures in Houston alone and displaced hundreds of thousands of people in the storm's wake. The rising waters turned familiar roads into rivers, and residents sought refuge in official and makeshift shelters.

The category 4 hurricane broke the rainfall record for a single storm event in the continental United States, with 52 inches since the storm began, according to the National Weather Service.

 

 

LA Answers the Call 

 

Earlier this week, the City of Los Angeles deployed a team of 70 LAFD firefighters and 10 logistics and support personnel, accompanied by four specially trained dogs, to Houston to aid in that city's search and rescue efforts. With big rigs outfitted with more than 60,000 pounds of special rescue and relief equipment designed to support swift water and flooding emergencies, the LAFD team journeyed to the flood-ravaged region as one of eight Federal Emergency Management Agency urban search and rescue task forces in California and one of 28 across the nation. As of Aug. 31, our team had rescued more than 50 people and more than a dozen animals from highly-dangerous situations and expects to help more in the coming days.

The effort of our selfless LAFD team shows the bravery, generosity and solidarity that perfectly embodies the spirit of Los Angeles. I'm proud of our first responders and I am sure they will help many more people in the difficult days to come.  


How You Can Help

The snapshots of submerged streets and homes, and families waiting for rescuers to come are all too familiar. The unprecedented floods may have damaged the region, but volunteers, ordinary citizens and first responders have strengthened their resolve, working around the clock to help these communities. Angelenos looking for ways to personally lend a hand can donate to one of the many national efforts to provide relief:

 

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund | ghcf.org/hurricane-relief
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner established a Harvey relief fund at The Greater Houston Community Foundation

Texas Diaper Bank | www.texasdiaperbank.org 
The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238.

United Way of Greater Houston | www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood
The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit their website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations on its website. You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.

Salvation Army | Harvey relief
Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or texting STORM to 51555.
Save the  Children | Hurricane Harvey Children's Relief Fund 
Save the Children is delivering baby supplies, including cribs and strollers, and setting up child-friendly spaces in shelters.

Houston Humane Society | Hurricane Harvey Fund
The Houston Humane Society is helping animals affected by the storm. 

 

Locally, Angelenos can join San Fernando Valley nonprofit Operation Gratitude to send collected items for all those affected by the storm in Texas and Louisiana. Anyone can help by:

Dropping off donation items by Thursday, Sept. 7 between 9 am to 4 pm
21100 Lassen Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311
Critical items needed included: hand/foot warmers, feminine hygiene products, pet supplies, diapers, baby formula, and other toiletries. Click to see the full list of items.
 
Volunteering to sort and pack donations on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm
21100 Lassen Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311
For more information, visit www.operationgratitude.com.

As we reach out to help Houston and the surrounding area, we should also take a moment to think about what we need to do here to be prepared for a natural disaster. While hurricanes may not threaten us, earthquakes and other potential disasters do require us to be ready. Make sure you sign up for Notify LA, the best way to get notifications during times of emergencies and disasters: emergency.lacity.org/notifyla.

As always, if you have thoughts or comments, please email me: paul.krekorian@lacity.org.