For hours I watched such a heartbreaking tragedy continue as volunteers rescued loads and loads of Houston flood victims… literally. While the Coast Guard and many government officials and First Responders were rescuing thousands of people/families throughout the day, when the sun when down it was just volunteers with a few boats and a couple of extremely large dump truck looking like vehicles still going back for more people. These trucks were large enough to carry 70 or so victims, and as they would arrive back they had people clinging all over the side.
As they began to unload by placing these extremely long ladders to the back… men, women, children, babies, elderly, and disable folks were helped out of the truck. Family after family. Always with babies, children, and disabled each time. One load had 10 infants, several toddlers, children, and their families. A journalist who faithfully reported throughout this ordeal would ask each one which area they came from, how were they rescued, how many came with them, how many were still waiting, what was that area like, and how did they get word out that they were stranded.
When one little girl (about 6 or 7) was asked how many were waiting, she answered a million. With an understanding slight chuckle under his breath he asked if she meant a million like in her classroom, on her school bus, in the lunch room? Her eyes lit up with the lunch room and she quickly said, “A lot more.” Many people were saying their cellphones were how they got word that they were stranded, and as it fell night they used their lights from their phones to get the attention of rescue vehicles passing by.
I know I watched at least 7 or 8 hours straight of rescues in this particular area, and they were bringing them in by the hundreds each hour. And for every family they rescued, there was always the plea to help family still waiting. All of the volunteers at this point were local citizens or people who just came to help… and did for several hours… wading, riding, and standing in the same cold muddy water as the drenched victims. The shelters were filling up with no way to feed them, clothe them, and were loading people into the back of extremely large furniture/moving trucks to take them to a local Wal-Mart, to put them on buses, to then go to shelters. Dallas had even opened shelters to offer victims a safe place to go with their children and families.
It was so heart breaking watching all of this. There were young children struggling to carry their infant siblings because there were far more children and babies than there were adults. These volunteers had answered the call of a judge who put out a public plea that if anyone had a boat or way of helping to do it. He stated that no one had to wait to sign any waivers. If they could help… do it. These volunteers saved thousands of lives that were not only fleeing a massively flooded area by 30 inches of rain, but one that was still expecting 20 more inches.
I was grateful for my family and friends who were marking themselves safe on this FB page that would let you know if any of your friends and family did so, without my even having to check for them (even though I did). Hurricane Harvey Facebook Safety Check. I could not just turn off my laptop and go to sleep. I felt like I would be abandoning them. I had to pray. I had to make sure each one made it in.
Eventually my medicines won out as I laid my head back for a moment to pray. When I awoke an hour later, it was time to start my day by taking my son to work and heading to physical therapy. When I finished my day, it was news time. Over 10,000 people were rescued. There were 7 who were killed with numbers expected to rise. Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S.. It will take days for some things to improve, but weeks for all of the water to go down, according to the experts. Click here for pictures and news footage.
Thank you to each one who prayed, and continues to pray. Texas needs it! Louisiana will as well as the storm is crossing the eastern part of Texas and beginning to hit them. Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has now been recorded as the largest rainfall to hit the U.S. ever. Please pray for those trying to rescue, shelter, and supply the flood victims. They, too, have had loss of life and property, yet are still out there helping whoever they can. Pray for different humanitarian groups and volunteers on their way to help. And remember each one of those families, especially with the young children and disabled.