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Catholic groups helping after Harvey Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
texas flooding
A Texas National Guard soldier carries a woman during rescue operations in flooded areas around Houston, Texas. (CNS photo/courtesy Texas Military Department)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNS) -- Catholic dioceses and charities are quickly organizing to help in the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall with heavy rains and winds of 130 miles per hour late August 25 into the Rockport, Texas, area, northeast of Corpus Christi.

The hurricane, named Harvey, is said to be the strongest one to hit the United States in more than a decade and perhaps the strongest one to make landfall in Texas.

Mobilizing to help
Bishop Robert C. Morlino has authorized a mandatory special collection at the parish level for flood victims in Texas. Here is the link for more information: www.madisondiocese.org/donate

Catholic Charities USA, as well as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Disaster Services, announced early on August 26 that they’re mobilizing to help an as-yet-unknown number of persons affected by the hurricane. The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops has a list of charities helping with the disaster listed on its website at https://tx catholic.org/harvey

Authorities reported at least five casualties as of August 27, but because of safety issues, not many emergency teams have been yet able to respond to the aftermath and much of the damage is unknown. Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared the state a disaster area, which will allow federal money to help in reconstruction. Catholic groups said they want to help with the immediate needs of the communities affected.

Individuals can donate directly online for Hurricane Harvey victims at the following locations:

• Disaster Relief at the Office of Stewardship and Development of the Diocese of Madison (http://www.madisondiocese.org/donate), click “Donate Online”, then click on “Hurricane Harvey Relief”

• Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (https://catholiccharities.org/donate-now-and-help-our-neighbors-recover-from-disaster/),

• Catholic Charities USA Disaster Relief (https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/CCUSADISASTER),

• Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA Disaster Services Corporation (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E135450&id=9).

Calls for help

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on August 27 urged “all people of goodwill to closely monitor future calls for assistance for victims and survivors in the days ahead.”

The cardinal also is the head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, one of the hardest-hit areas.

“Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast in a catastrophic and devastating way this weekend, bringing with it severe flooding and high winds which have taken human life, caused countless injuries, and severely damaged homes and property throughout the region,” said the cardinal in an August 27 news release.

He asked for prayers but also for assistance for those affected. One of the first to pledge help was the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, where Bishop Daniel E. Flores authorized a second collection to be taken up at the diocese’s local churches on the weekend of August 26-27 to send to Catholic Charities in nearby Corpus Christi and “other places hardest hit by loss of power, storm damage, and flooding.”

Flooding expected

Though the brunt of the hurricane’s winds has passed and Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm hours after landfall, heavy rains and “catastrophic flooding” are expected for days, said the National Hurricane Center.

“We have to remember . . . the families affected by flood damage in the next few days in other parts of the state will be in need of relief,” said Bishop Flores. “We will assess better how we can help as we get further information about the needs from the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and Catholic Charities.”

In an August 26 statement published by the Galveston-Houston archdiocese, Cardinal DiNardo said powerful winds and heavy rainfall have already impacted many lives and homes throughout the region, and many in the southern counties of his archdiocese have already suffered substantial property damage and losses.

In Houston, the country’s fourth largest city with 6.6 million residents, many struggled seeking safety in flooded residential streets, which are expected to get up to 50 inches of rainfall by the time the rain stops sometime at the end of August.

“Numerous homes in these communities are currently without power. Several forecasts anticipate additional storm damage and flooding in the coming days, along with high winds and tornado activity,” Cardinal DiNardo said.

Up to 250,000 have been reported without power in Texas, a number that’s expected to rise.

 
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