Hurricane Harvey devastates the Texas coast


Courtesy of the National Weather Service

Hurricane Harvey early in the morning on August 26.

Stephen Lowe, Contributor

On Friday, August 25th, Hurricane Harvey, a multiple record breaking storm, made land fall near Rockport, Texas as a category 4 hurricane. It destroyed much of the town’s building and infrastructure. The high winds from Harvey caused similar damage to other coastal towns as it moved up along the coast and stalled over southeast Texas. The torrential rainfall from the stalled storm caused flash flooding and river flooding that left many residents stranded and claimed the lives of more than 20 people.

The trail of destruction and devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey will take several years and billions of dollars to mend.

While Hurricane Harvey was pounding costal Texas, rescue and relief efforts were preparing for action. Donations and volunteers poured into south Texas like the rains that had flooded it; celebrities donating tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, other people donating their time and belongings, all the way down to citizens hauling their personal boats to help with rescue and relief, like something out of Dunkirk. There is no shortage of helping hitting the coast.

Dr. Mike Leese, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, is spearheading relief efforts here at Tarleton. He believes Tarleton’s relief efforts should focus on the evacuees.

“We need to concentrate on helping people that have been evacuated to north/central Texas,” Leese said. “There’s plenty of help going on at the coast right now.”

In response to the increasing number of evacuees, shelters across the state have been established, including those in our backyard of Granbury and the Fort Worth/Dallas area. Leese and the office of Student Affairs are hoping to “adopt” one of these evacuation centers. Tarleton volunteers will be able to help the evacuees in any way they can; helping children with schoolwork or reading to them, serving food, or simply talking to people.

Another one of Leese’s main foci was to make sure affected students were receiving the help they need.

He mentioned that there were 535 Tarleton students in the affected counties, and, as of Friday afternoon, September 1st, 16 of them had not yet checked-in.

“The main thing is to find out if everybody is ok and what their needs are.”

There are several fundraising opportunities on campus that students can donate to if they wish to partake. Residence halls are raising money through a “dollar drive” and Panhellenic organizations will be donating proceeds from t-shirt sales. The Barry B. Thompson Student Center and Dining Hall are taking specific supply donations based on the needs of shelters.

Keep an eye out for emails with more opportunities to help. With the storm passed, a huge clean-up will begin.

Leese commented on possible projects for Service Week in the spring where students can continue to help those affected by Harvey.