There’s a lot of turmoil in the world right now, both in the United States and abroad. Mother Nature seems to want in on the chaotic action, cooking up superstorms in the oceans to bombard Caribbean islands, coastal states, and parts of Mexico. It’s been almost five full years since Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the entire eastern seaboard, putting whole neighborhoods underwater and defining hurricanes for a whole new generation, just like Katrina did for me.
Now today’s kids will remember Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, two devastating storms hitting just two short weeks apart. Those who are fortunate enough not to live in states like Texas or Florida that were so heavily impacted by the storm, will see on TV the images that so many other people are experiencing first hand. Palm trees resemble overturned umbrellas in wind conditions so extreme, it seems they could be uprooted at any moment. Following the storms, images of roads turned into lakes with pieces of homes floating by will endure for years to come.
Arial view of Harvey’s flooding in Texas, Source: Business Insider
Harvey, making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, caused over seventy deaths, displaced over 30,000 people, and caused billions of dollars of damage. Estimates range from $70 billion to $200 billion of economic losses. Most of these losses are from uninsured homeowners, which means they lost everything in the storm.
Irma also made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, marking the first time in history that two Category 4 hurricanes have hit the United States in the same year. Irma so far has caused nine deaths and left over three million people without power in Florida alone. As she made her way up to Atlanta, the damage continued.
People wade to safety as Irma floods FL, Source: ABC News
Harvey fills home in Texas, Source: CNN
Sitting safely in my room near Philadelphia, I am resigned to watching the devastation Irma is having on the television, feeling helpless and wanting to do something to aid people currently feeling her wrath: my grandparents in Ponte Vedra, the lovely ladies of SpreadLoveTM in Tampa, or any of the other millions who may have just lost everything in the aftermath of the storm. I know it seems like you may not be able to contribute more than a drop in the bucket, but if you’re like me and want to SpreadLove to those who have been affected by these storms, I’ve compiled a few ways you can help.
Disaster relief is no bargain. Harvey’s damage totaled up to almost 1.5% of GDP, and Irma’s damage will only augment that number. People are in need of food, shelter, water, and clothes. But, don’t rush to clean out your closet to send victims your unworn tshirts and socks. The best way to help hurricane victims is to donate CASH. Clothes and food donations mean well, but it takes time and money to send the resources to the areas in need. And then it takes manpower to distribute these resources. In the aftermath of other natural disasters, physical donations like clothes often went unused, and clogged up resource influxes. If you have the means to donate, your resources are much more useful as a monetary donation.
Of course, as with any sort of donation, make sure the charity is a reputable one before writing them a check. You can use www.charitynavigator.org to verify any charity you’d like to donate to. The site even has webpages currently linked to ways to help the hurricane victims. Many companies also offer matching donations, so be sure to see if your company offers this benefit!
Volunteers organizing donations, Source: CNN
Check out charitynavigator.org for places to make donations, Source: Charity Navigator website
If you live in the area, consider opening your home to evacuees.
AirBnB, a popular site that facilitates apartment rentals online, has been helping people displaced by natural disasters find free places to stay since 2012. So, if you live in the Florida pan handle, Northern Georgia, or NW and SE Carolina, and would like to volunteer your home to evacuees, all you have to do is create an account with Air BnB. People in need will then be able to send requests. You can learn more at https://www.airbnb.co.uk/welcome/evacuees/hurricaneirmaevacuees
Source: AirBnb website
If you aren’t able to donate, or don’t live in the area, keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers. Remember that some people lost everything in the storm, so take a little time to be grateful for what you have and SpreadLove to others in whatever way you’d like.
What are your thoughts on these latest disasters? Comment below! I’d love love love to hear your thoughts.