SAN ANTONIO (CNS) — Catholic Charities USA presented a $2 million check Sept. 4 representing donations received to date for immediate emergency assistance for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and its catastrophic flooding.
One hundred percent of the funds raised will go directly to immediate and long-term recovery efforts.
Catholic Charities USA’s Mobile Response Center vehicle, filled with emergency supplies, left Catholic Charities headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, for Texas and will remain there to assist Catholic Charities agencies with response efforts.
Diocesan Catholic Charities agencies have been hard at work in recovery efforts, trying to address difficulties as they arise.
In Houston, which has received the lion’s share of attention, there have been huge problems finding temporary housing. Apartments are flooded and hotels are not accepting payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. On top of that, the city is getting ready to shut down shelters.
In Victoria, relief efforts are just getting started, as Catholic Charities is trying to find a building to convert into a distribution center. Cleaning supplies are still needed to cope with the aftermath of flooding.
While most volunteers want to go to southeast Texas, which suffered significant damage, five counties in the Diocese of Austin were also hit by Harvey. Catholic Charities personnel have gone door-to-door to hotels in Bryan and College Station trying to find displaced people, then connecting them to United Way, as hotels in the area are full due to the college football season.
In Corpus Christi, Catholic Charities USA workers are on the ground with people and resources. The biggest challenges they face include trying to find places to store donated supplies and relocating residents with no affordable housing available.
Trucks are a big issue in Beaumont and San Antonio. In Beaumont, six 18-wheelers arrived fully loaded with donations, and up to 100 volunteers stayed until 2 a.m. on Sept. 5 to unload them.
Beaumont’s water supply has remained sketchy since the storm. Water service has not been restored to all areas and those who do have water must boil it first. With flooding still an issue, supply routes change daily and Catholic Charities faces the challenge of getting donations to the right places.
Pope prays for victims
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After leading thousands of pilgrims in praying the Angelus, Pope Francis offered prayers for flood victims in Texas and Louisiana following a devastating hurricane that caused massive flooding.
He also prayed for flood victims in Asia where monsoon rains have killed thousands in Bangladesh, India and Nepal and displaced millions of people.
“While I renew my spiritual closeness to the people of southern Asia, who still suffer the consequences of the floods, I want to express my heartfelt participation in the sufferings of the inhabitants of Texas and Louisiana struck by a hurricane and by exceptional rains that have caused victims, thousands of displaced and considerable material damage,” the pope said Sept. 3.
Landslides in southern Asia killed more than 1,000 people and affected an estimated 41 million people, the United Nations reported.
Invoking the intercession of Mary, “consoler of the afflicted,” the pope prayed that she would “obtain from the Lord the grace of comfort for our brothers and sisters” affected by the floods.