Catholic groups mobilize to help after Hurricane Harvey | Earth beat



Washington – Catholic Dioceses and charities are pulling together quickly to help in the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall with heavy rains and winds of 130 miles per hour in late August in the Rockport area, in Texas, northeast of Corpus Christi. The National Weather Service said in a tweet on Aug. 27 that the precipitation expected after the hurricane and storm ended is “beyond anything known before.” The hurricane, named Harvey, is believed to be the hardest to hit the United States in over a decade and possibly the hardest to make landfall in Texas.

Catholic Charities USA, along with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Disaster Services, announced early August 26 that they were mobilizing to help an as yet unknown number of people affected by the hurricane. The Texas Catholic Bishops‘ Conference has a list of charities helping with the disaster listed on its website at

Authorities reported at least five casualties as of August 27, but due to security concerns few emergency teams have yet been able to respond to the aftermath and much of the damage is unknown. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared the state a disaster area, which will allow federal money to help with reconstruction. Catholic groups said they wanted to help with the immediate needs of affected communities.

“We will be sending rapid response teams to help our affected St. Vincent de Paul councils and we are coordinating nationally with the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta and (Catholic Charities USA),” a said Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, CEO of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul USA.

On August 27, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged “all people of goodwill to closely monitor future appeals for help for victims and survivors in the days to come. future “.

The cardinal is also the head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, one of the hardest hit areas.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast catastrophically and devastatingly over the weekend, causing severe flooding and high winds that claimed lives, injured countless times and severely damaged homes and properties. properties throughout the region, ”the cardinal said in a statement. Press release of August 27. “The effects of this storm continue to put people at risk, with gruesome scenes unfolding all around them, such as those of people trapped on their rooftops as water continues to rise around them. Church in the United States has been affected; many more will be as the storm continues. “

He asked for prayers but also for help for those affected. One of the first to pledge help was the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, where Bishop Daniel Flores authorized a second collection to be done at local churches in the diocese on the weekend of August 26-27. to send it to Catholic charities near Corpus Christi. and “other places hardest hit by blackouts, storm damage, flooding.”

It has been difficult to communicate with other areas, Flores said in an August 26 interview with Catholic News Service, so it is difficult to assess the extent of the damage. But he said his diocese wanted to get ahead of the curve to get help where it’s needed quickly and as quickly as possible.

If the Rio Grande Valley, where the Diocese of Flores is located, was spared the major impact of Hurricane Harvey, then the diocese had a duty to help its neighbors to the north, in the coastal areas of Corpus Christi. and Galveston-Houston, which appeared to be the hardest hit, he said. Hurricane Harvey appeared to enter near Corpus Christi and affected seven coastal counties in Texas and one parish in Louisiana.

“We continue to pray for all those affected by the hurricane and those in danger as the storms continue,” Flores said in a statement.

Although the brunt of the hurricane’s winds have passed and Harvey has turned into a tropical storm hours after making landfall, heavy rains and “catastrophic flooding” are expected for days, the National Hurricane Center said.

“We must remember (…) families affected by the flooding in the coming days in other parts of the state will need relief,” Flores said. “We will better assess how we can help as we get more information on the needs of the (Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops) and Catholic charities.”

In an Aug. 26 statement released by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, DiNardo said strong winds and heavy rains have already affected many lives and homes across the region, and that many residents of the counties south of his archdiocese have already suffered material damage and considerable losses.

In Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city with 6.6 million people, many have struggled to seek safety on flooded residential streets, which are expected to receive up to 50 inches of rain by the end of the rains at the end of August.

“Many homes in these communities are currently without power. Several forecasts predict additional damage from storms and flooding in the coming days, as well as high winds and tornado activity,” DiNardo said.

As many as 250,000 have been reported without power in Texas, a number that is expected to increase.

Archbishop of San Antonio Gustavo Garcia-Siller said in a statement that the archdiocese has pledged support for recovery efforts that will begin after the rain and wind fall.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Dioceses of Corpus Christi and Victoria, as well as the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, as they face the adverse effects of Hurricane Harvey,” he said. he declares. “The people of San Antonio have opened their arms to welcome the evacuees of this historic hurricane, and Catholic charities in the Archdiocese have helped and will continue to help in various ways those affected by this natural disaster.

Bishop W. Michael Mulvey, of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, said he was grateful to the bishops who contacted him and to his diocese. He said the real damage around the diocese is still not known and the authorities are awaiting conditions that will allow a better assessment of the damage.

In his statement, DiNardo asked for prayers for emergency personnel and volunteers who move in dangerous conditions and also “for those who reside in our Archdiocese, Texas and along the Gulf Coast, be safe. and God have mercy on those affected by Hurricane Harvey. “



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