The United States is in the midst of its most dramatic and terrible hurricane season in many, many years. While a terrible storm seems to come along at least once every four or five years, it appears that 2017 is going to bring multiple hurricanes that could rank among the most devastating in our history. It began when Hurricane Harvey throttled Houston, and continued with the emergence of Irma, one of the largest and fiercest storms ever recorded. There’s no telling at this stage how bad the cumulative damage will be, or how many lives will be irreversibly altered before this hurricane season reaches an end.
What we do know at this stage is that relief is vital. You can find relief funds online, donate whatever you’re able to, and perhaps find other, more hands-on ways to help if you happen to live near an effected area. From the outside looking in, it can be easy to wonder what exactly money is going to do, or how your help is actually “helping.” Some are even sharing stories about popular relief organizations, spreading skepticism about where all the money goes.
It’s perfectly understandable to worry about the specifics in these regards. It’s also natural to feel a little bit like just throwing money at a problem won’t help. But it’s also important to think about relief efforts in more than just the most general terms. These are some of the common efforts we don’t always necessarily think about.
We all know that flooding is one of the biggest problems when a major hurricane strikes a populated area. But often we think about this as an issue that either solves itself or devastates a home. That is to say, flooding either eases back without doing too much lasting damage, or it fully destroys a property. But there are plenty of other concerns somewhat in the middle as well. For instance, some homes affected by flooding need mold remediation, or some level of home repair.
In some cases, the plumbing can also become a disaster, with pipes being damaged and other issues arising. Fortunately, these issues can be easier to solve than they once were. Trenchless sewer repair means plumbing can be fixed up without any further disruption of a property. But it’s not cheap, nor are the other problems that arise because of flooding.
If you have much experience giving to organizations like the Red Cross and helping with disaster relief efforts, you may be familiar with the idea that hygiene products often aren’t included in bundles. One of the biggest problems for a lot of families, somewhat surprisingly, is diaper supply. Diapers fly off the shelves when a big storm or disaster is coming, and families without proper supplies can end up in very difficult situations. Somewhat similarly, it’s often not a given that feminine hygiene products will be included in relief packages. These days, however, you can often seek out specific relief groups that are working to correct these problems and provide these kinds of products to victims.
Because human tragedy takes priority, we often don’t realize the scope of animal suffering that can occur when a catastrophe like Hurricane Harvey strikes. Simply put, a lot of pets get lost and need adoption. And given how many of us often look to non-rescue services for pets, this is something to keep in mind.
For instance, if you decide you want a cat or dog you might find a local breeder and pay a hefty fee for one. You can find a teacup puppy here if you have a very specific sort of pet in mind, and you can always search for a favorite breed of your choice. But most animals at sources like these will be well cared for one way or the other. When hurricanes like these hit, there are frightened and lost animals that need to be adopted urgently.
This is not a specific relief effort, but it feels like an important point to close on. Perhaps the most vital thing that storm victims need is continued attention from the rest of us. Particularly these days, when the news cycle seems to move so quickly, it may be easy to simply move on from hurricane season once it’s finally over. But storms this bad leave damage that can take months, if not years to recover from. Relief efforts will be ongoing, as our attention must be.