Here's How You Can Help Survivors of Hurricane Harvey

Here's How You Can Help Survivors of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on Friday, leaving mass destruction in its torrential path. The area in and around Houston has experienced one of the worst floods in U.S. history, leaving essential amenities like hospitals underwater, homes destroyed, and at least eight people dead. Federal officials are predicting that the tropical storm will drive 30,000 people into shelters and leave 45,000 seeking relief assistance.

Fortunately, there are some ways you can help, even if you don't live in Texas. Here are a few ways you can assist survivors of the storm:

1. Donate money. Sending money to organizations that are devoted to helping natural disaster disaster survivors is one of the easiest and most effective ways of supporting victims of the hurricane. The Center for International Disaster Information provides extensive information on selecting the right organization to donate to, and the Charity Navigator has a list of national and local groups that are providing support to victims of the storm on the ground. Some local groups you can send money to also include the Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi, and Houston mayor Sylvester Turner has also established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to accept tax-deductible relief donations.

2. Help with housing. If you are nearby, you can offer up space in your home via Airbnb, which is currently waiving its fee to help Harvey survivors find temporary housing. You can also donate to the Houston Coalition for the Homeless and Trusted World, which is helping provide housing and relief to hurricane evacuees in Dallas.

3. Don't forget the animals. Pets are affected by natural disasters too, even though they may not be the first thing that come to mind when considering victims of major storms. You can donate to organizations like Austin Pets Alive!, which has already rescued more than 235 pets from flood zones and brought them to its shelter, or the SPCA of Texas which is engaged in similar efforts and is encouraging people to foster stranded pets. Other organizations that could use your help include the Houston SPCA, the Humane Society of Houston and the San Antonio Humane Society.

4. Donate blood. In the wake of natural disasters, there is an increased need for blood transfusions to help survivors. The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism is encouraging people across the country (with an emphasis on type O-positive donors) to give blood as soon as possible. You can donate through the well-known Red Cross, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center and Carter BloodCare. Visit America's Blood Centers website to find a blood bank near you.

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