More Disaster Units Bound for Texas as Harvey Keeps Churning

August 31, 2017 • United States

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Note: This story was last updated on August 31. Please see more recent content: “Franklin Graham and Vice President Mike Pence Help in Texas After Hurricane Harvey” and “Hurricane Harvey Response Updates” and “Volunteers Serve Homeowners in Need Following Hurricane Harvey.” And, please continue to look for many future stories that will be posted regularly to samaritanspurse.org during this response.

Samaritan’s Purse is ramping up its response in storm-weary Texas as rain continues to fall and floodwaters keep rising.

One of our disaster relief units is based in Victoria, Texas.

One of our disaster relief units is already based in Victoria, Texas. Volunteers have begun working to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

President Franklin Graham has approved the deployment of five U.S. disaster relief units to southeastern Texas. These tractor trailers, stocked with emergency relief equipment and supplies, will help our staff and volunteers meet some of the mammoth needs created by Hurricane Harvey.

The flooding is just horrendous in southeast Texas,” Graham said. “People have lost their homes, and some have lost everything. We want to go and we want to be there in their time of need, helping them in the Name of Jesus Christ put their lives back together again.”

Making landfall as a Category 4 storm, then spending days as a tropical storm, and now a tropical depression, Harvey continues to make history. The storm made a second landfall Wednesday morning near the Texas/Louisiana border, deluging the region with punishing bands of rain. Beaumont and Port Arthur, both in Texas, about 100 miles east of Houston, were pelted with 26 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.

Samaritan’s Purse Starts Massive Response to Harvey

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One of our disaster relief units is already on the scene in Victoria, and volunteer teams have begun work. They are tarping damaged roofs, chainsawing fallen trees, and cleaning up storm debris. Faith Family Church, located at 2002 E. Mockingbird Lane, serves as our host church.

Bruce Poss, Samaritan’s Purse program manager, reports that more than 250 families in Victoria have already requested assistance. Nearly 100 of our volunteers showed up the first day and immediately got to work—coming alongside homeowners in Jesus’ Name.

And praise God, on day one, five people personally committed their lives to following Him. One was a young man who came to our work site and asked if we had any saw chains. We offered to sharpen his if he brought them by. He did and while his chains were being sharpened, our volunteers started talking with him and shared the Gospel. The man prayed to receive Christ.

As with every Samaritan’s Purse deployment, crisis-trained Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains will be coming alongside our teams to provide spiritual and emotional care to distressed homeowners and others throughout each respective community.

Volunteers begin clean up in Victoria, Texas, following Harvey's lashing.

Volunteers begin work in Victoria, Texas, following Harvey’s lashing. More relief sites will be opening soon along the state’s coast.

“Some people we’re meeting with are completely broken. They’re lining up to be prayed for,” one chaplain said.

A second unit is set up near the coastal city of Rockport, which took the initial blow when Hurricane Harvey roared ashore Friday night as a Category 4 storm. Our host church is First Baptist in Portland, 1305 Wildcat Drive. Volunteers are hard at work there now as well.

We will soon be fanning out to the Galveston/Santa Fe area. The host church will be First Baptist Alta Loma at 5400 Main Street in Santa Fe. An open date for this site has not been released, as waters have not receded.

Two additional tractor trailers will head to Houston as soon as the devastating floodwaters recede, and it’s safe for our staff to set up a base of operation.

Luther Harrison, vice president for North American Ministries, called this storm a “Hurricane Katrina-sized event.”

Samaritan's Purse volunteers clean up in a home in Victoria, Texas.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers clean up in a storm-damaged home in Victoria, Texas.

“This will require our attention and commitment for quite some time,” he said. “Wherever God plants us, we will do our very best to minister to people and show them God’s love and compassion.”

Harrison said this catastrophic storm affords area churches with excellent opportunities to serve people in Jesus’ Name. “This is a great way for churches to get involved in local missions,” he said. “We want to help facilitate their outreach and their service to people in their own communities.

“God has a plan and a purpose, and we’re praying that God will do His marvelous work.”

Devastating, Unprecedented Flooding

This multi-city response remains in process and life-threatening floods continue to cripple Houston, the country’s fourth-largest city. Cedar Bayou, not far from Baytown and about 30 miles east of downtown Houston, received more than 51 inches of rain—a record for a landfalling tropical cyclone in the continental U.S. Trillions of gallons of water have inundated the region, and officials report that there have been more than two dozen Harvey-related deaths. That toll could certainly rise.

Samaritan's Purse volunteer teams start the day in prayer in Victoria, Texas.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteer teams start the day in prayer in Victoria, Texas.

Roads and highways have turned into raging rivers. Countless homes and businesses have been submerged. Many thousands of water rescues have been made, with missions continuing. Some 30,000 people have been displaced from their homes. A levee in Brazoria County, southwest of Houston, was breached as river levels were swollen by days of relentless rain. Authorities there tweeted, “GET OUT NOW!!”

A hospital in Beaumont had to be evacuated today.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed his state’s entire National Guard—12,000 service members—to help with rescues and attend to other critical needs. During a Monday afternoon press conference, he praised the “courageous and heroic” efforts by first responders.

“This is a landmark event for Texas,” said FEMA Administrator William “Brock” Long at a Monday morning press conference. “Texas has never seen an event like this.”

President Donald Trump visited Texas on Tuesday to observe the horrific damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. He may make an additional trip to Texas and/or Louisiana this weekend. All branches of the U.S. military have been called in to help with this disaster.

Note: This story was originally published on August 29. Significant revisions were made on August 30 and 31 to keep up with new information.

People evacuate east Houston by boat.

People evacuate east Houston by boat due to flooding caused by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. Please pray for the people of Texas.

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Hurricane Relief Samaritan's Purse
Hurricane Relief Samaritan's Purse responds to the urgent needs of families devastated by the wind, rain, and storm surge of catastrophic hurricanes. Whether in the United States or abroad, we come alongside hurting people to bring emergency relief and practical help in the Name of Jesus Christ.

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