We Stand With Texas

Hurricane Harvey first made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas on Aug. 25. And while the National Hurricane Center ranked the hurricane as a Category 4 storm with initial predictions of 130-mile-per-hour wind and over 40 inches of rainfall over southern Texas, the damage well surpassed initial predictions. Five days after Harvey’s initial landfall, nearly 50 inches of rain have fallen on Harris County, according to reports by CNN.

While the total cost of damages caused by Hurricane Harvey remains unclear, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that the destruction and devastation could reach upwards of $190 billion. When adjusted for inflation, that figure is $30 billion more than Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and $119.8 billion more than Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

With the cost of damages estimated at $190 billion, it may be hard to imagine what we—as UW-Madison students—can do to help Hurricane Harvey survivors rebuild not only their communities but their lives. But, the truth is, we can do a lot.

 

First and foremost, we can provide money!  

Money is key when it comes to disaster relief. While it may seem more advantageous to donate food and physical goods, national relief organizations advocate for monetary donations, particularly because the infrastructures in the affected areas may not be able to support physical donations.

There are numerous organizations that are accepting monetary donations, locally and nationally. Before donating, however, it is important to make sure that you do your research to ensure your donation goes directly to disaster relief. Here are a few national organizations verified by The New York Times:

1. The American Red Cross: To donate $10, text HARVEY to 90999

According to the Red Cross, your donations will pay for shelters, food, transportation for disaster workers, hygiene kits, emergency response vehicles, mental health services, technology and more.

2. Salvation Army: To donate, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or text STORM to 51555

Your donations to the Salvation Army will help the organization provide multi-faceted care to both survivors and aid workers during the disaster and during long-term relief efforts, according to its website.

3. AmeriCares: Donate on their website

According to The New York Times and AmeriCare’s website, this organization provides fresh water, medical supplies and medicine as they mobilize outreach efforts among local organizations in Texas' affected area.

 

Once you donate, don’t be afraid to spread the word!

Social media has been a huge help in keeping the public informed about Hurricane Harvey’s movement and destruction. It also keeps us informed about the people and organizations that are donating, as well as the amount of money we—as a nation—need to donate to make an impact.

Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Beyoncé, the Kardashian family, Kevin Hart, Lady Gaga, DJ Khaled and The Rock have been circulating tweets to encourage donations. These celebrities have pledged to donate overwhelming sums of money to relief funds as well.  

Finally, we definitely can’t forget how much former Badger and current Houston Texan J.J. Watt contributed through his Houston Flood Relief Fund. Watt recently uploaded a video to Twitter to not only encourage relief efforts but also to document his pledge to a donation. Within about one week, Watt and his supporters raised over $18.5 million, making it the largest and fastest-growing crowdfunding fundraiser in history, according to Forbes.com.

While raising $18.5 million might be out of reach for most people, any amount helps. If the enrollment statistics from the 2016 academic year holds true until today, we’d raise $43,338 if we all donated a dollar.

We can—and should—make a difference for the survivors of Hurricane Harvey. So keep donating, and share your efforts all over social media. It will encourage your friends and family to donate, too!