Texas Relief Overview

Texas Gulf Coast Relief

Overview

Hurricane Harvey—the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States in more than a decade—left death and destruction in its wake with thousands of homes flooded, businesses lost, residents stranded, and dreams shattered. It will take decades for the people of the Gulf Coast of Texas to fully recover from this record-breaking natural disaster.

This hurricane is personal for us as at Thirst Missions. Our president, Addie Pfingsten, was born in the Texas Gulf Coast region and has spent the majority of her life there. Her home county of Matagorda and surrounding counties were hit extremely hard. Many of her friends and family members were directly affected by the rain, winds, and horrible flooding. We cannot sit silently and let people and areas we personally care about recover on their own. So we are asking for teams of people to join us in bringing encouragement to the people of the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Impact on the Gulf Coast

On August 23, 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast near Rockport, Texas, becoming the first category 3 or higher hurricane to make landfall in the United States in over 12 years. For the next 3 days, the storm stalled over the Gulf Coast before making its way north toward Louisiana, pummeling structures and dumping 40-50 inches of rain in the process. The resulting floods inundated thousands of homes and displaced tens of thousands of people.

Harvey caused over 70 deaths and economic losses from $170 – 190 billion, much of that sustained by residents who lost their homes and livelihoods from the storm. According to the Texas Department of Public safety, more than 185,000 homes sustained damage, and over 9,000 homes were completely destroyed. Following the evacuation, many people returned home only to find their entire town destroyed by hurricane and flood. The need for help to rebuild and restore what was lost is great.

Where are we going?

The area of Texas on the Gulf of Mexico, known as the Texas Gulf Coast (TGC), extends for about 400 miles from the border of Mexico to Louisiana. A geographically and culturally diverse area, the TGC is home to over 6 million people in 16 coastline counties, along with 4 million more people living directly inland. The TGC includes Houston, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and Beaumont, along with hundreds of smaller cities and towns.

Thirst Missions will be focusing on providing support and aid to Matagorda County and its surrounding areas. Matagorda County lies about 100 miles south of Houston and 140 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. It is home to 40,000 people living in small cities and hardworking agricultural communities.

What are we doing?

Starting in March 2018 and continuing in June, July, and August, Thirst Missions will host mission teams for 10 or more in the TGC. Teams will show the love of Christ by helping physically restore these small communities. The trips will be 6-day, 5-night trips, with 4 planned days of community restoration work including:

• Home Repair
• Landscaping
• House Demolition/Gutting
• Painting
• Community Restoration
• Food Pantry/Food Distribution
• Prayer Walking
• Prayer Services
• Hispanic Ministry
• Mercy Ministry (Nursing Homes)

The types of services projects for each group will depend on the skills and capabilities of team members and the specific needs in the community they serve. Lodging and food will be provided, and each group will receive an introduction and tour of the area. Thirst Missions staff will be with each team the entire time. Each trip will feature end-of-week recreational activities, as well as two evenings of local ministry.

Our goal as an organization is to provide opportunities for people to help and to maximize the effectiveness of the service provided. We pray God moves in the hearts of many to help those in need along the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Harvey by the Numbers

• 4 – Category 4 Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on August 25, 2017
• $180 billion – Estimated damage done by Harvey.
• 13 million – People affected from Texas through Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
• 70 – People who have died as a result of the Hurricane as of September 9, 2017
• 3 – Times Harvey made landfall over the Gulf Coast of Texas
• 27 Trillion – Gallons of rain over Texas during a six-day period
• 51 – Inches of rainfall, a US record
• 49 – Average annual rainfall in Houston
• 85,000 – Number of people rescued
• 450,000 – Victims asking for financial assistance due to damage
• 30,000 – People needing temporary shelter
• 33 – Counties deemed federal disaster areas in Texas

Timeline

– August 25, 2017, Harvey hit Rockport with 130 mph winds. The category 4 hurricane left 250,000 people without power.

– August 26, Harvey arrived in Houston and stayed four days causing two reservoirs to overflow. Highways became waterways as flooding spread to an area the size of New York City and Chicago combined that is home to 4.5 million people.

– August 29, Harvey made landfall for a third time as it hit the coastal cities of Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas (on the border of Louisiana).

The Facts on Hurricane Harvey’s Damage

– Hurricane Harvey damaged 203,000 homes, totally destroying 12,700.

– 507,000 people registered for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA delivered 80 semi loads of emergency supplies.

– 37,000 people stayed in shelters in Texas and 2,000 in Louisiana. Almost 7,000 people were in the George R. Brown Convention Center, where 1,700 received medical treatment. FEMA put 14,900 in temporary housing.

– Federal forces rescued 10,000 people who were trapped in their homes or on flooded highways. A flotilla of private boats known as the Cajun Navy rescued an unknown number of additional victims. The Houston Police Department’s Dive Team rescued 3,000 people in four days.

– Houston’s school district closed 75 of its 275 schools due to flood damage. The district is the nation’s seventh largest.

– In the Gulf area, 1 million vehicles were ruined beyond repair.

Rainfall

The rainfall from Harvey was a once-in-a-thousand-year flood event as over 50 inches of rain fell in a few days. Harvey was the largest flood event in the US in modern recorded history.

For information on trip prices and dates click here.