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Photo: REUTERS
A Texas National Guard soldier carries a woman on his back as they conduct rescue operations in flooded areas around Houston, Texas, U.S., Aug. 27, 2017.
Photo by REUTERS

In the days and weeks ahead, World Renew will be joining other organizations in responding to the needs of thousands of people who have lost homes and livelihoods and will be facing other serious challenges in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Since last Friday, Aug. 25, when it made landfall in Rockport, Tex., as a category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 m.p.h., Harvey has dumped more than 50 inches of rain across a large portion of eastern Texas and parts of Louisiana. So far, reports are that 30 people have died as a result of the storm.

Areas across Houston and elsewhere face serious flooding, and rescue workers have been busy around-the-clock rescuing people from their homes. Thousands of people are now living in shelters.

Weather experts say Harvey still presents a problem as it continues to dump rain across a wide area.

"There is nothing we can do on the ground until after the storm has passed and the high-impact areas are safe to enter," World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) director Bob Laarman said.

World Renew officials say they will be offering clean-up teams, needs assessments, building estimates, capacity building to local organizations, and home-repair services in communities that have been devastated by the storm.

World Renew focuses its response efforts on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable disaster survivors, those who are not able to recover on their own and are at risk of being lost or forgotten as the recovery progresses.

"This will be an event to remember, and we can already tell that World Renew volunteers will be working for many months to help Texans who are in the most need as a result of the storm," said Laarman.

"Our focus is on the survivors who are under-resourced and do not have the means to recover on their own. Please pray. Please give generously to bring hope not only now but in the months and years to come."

Laarman and World Renew DRS regional managers will be traveling to the Houston and Corpus Christi areas to begin planning recovery efforts in coordination with other local, regional, and national organizations.

Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in 12 years, following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and it is likely making a lasting impact on the Texas coast.

World Renew has helped Texans recover from several types of disasters in the past, most recently after massive floods in 2015, when the Blanco River overflowed near San Marcos, and when additional flooding occurred in 2016.

That included cleanup, debris removal, and housing reconstruction in the Houston, San Marcos, Hidalgo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Cameron, and Willacy areas. World Renew also provided long-term response services in Galveston after Hurricane Ike in 2008.

To support World Renew DRS in responding to Harvey, call 800-552-7972 in the U.S., or mail your check to World Renew, 1700 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49508-1407, with Hurricane Harvey in the memo line. In Canada, call 800-730-3490, or mail cheques to World Renew, 2475 Mainway, STN LCD 1, Burlington, ON, L7R 3Y8.

For additional information on how you can help, click here.