Houston TX: The story of natural disasters is a story of entire communities
The story of natural disasters is a story of displacement of entire communities; of deaths to humans and animals; of destruction of property; of disruption of social support systems. Families lose the loved ones or commodities they took for granted like: family members, phones, radios, books, pets, money, clothes, shoes, medications and other life support things.
It is also a story of natural events taking place and causing changes in how seasons progress; or crops grow; as well as changing the weather patterns we have been used to.
Natural disaster stories are multiplied into the number of people affected beginning with those who are locals. Texas Houston City has a very large population reaching about 6.3 million. The land area of Houston is 669 square miles. If stories about the flood can be tagged to the population, Houston has 2,319,603 stories of the flooding. This is not counting the visitors to Houston around the time when the floods occurred. In USA, the city with the largest number of people is New York followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
The story is that of so many who could not tune in to the emergency channels. According to GOP Insider Brief:
“Most people did not have emergency radios when the power failed. They were unaware of emergency notifications to evacuate. Federal and state agencies advise every American family to have an emergency radio at home. Preferably one that does not need batteries. With their homes flooded and their cellphones dead, many sat on rooftops – alone and in the dark – waiting and hoping that someone would notice and rescue them.”
Houston was founded on August 30, 1836 by brothers Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. It is the fourth most populous city in the nation (trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago), and is the largest in the southern U.S. and Texas. The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (Houston CMSA) consists of eight counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller. The Houston CMSA covers 8,778 square miles, an area slightly smaller than Massachusetts but larger than New Jersey. Founded in 1836, the City of Houston has a 2010 population of 2.1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau www.census.gov. Houston's population in 1850 was listed as 2,396. The metro area's population of 5.95 million in 2010 is 6th largest among U.S. metropolitan statistical areas, according to www.census.gov, and a 26% increase since 2000. Harris County alone has a population of 4,092,459.
Houston’s 2,319,603 stories of the flooding not only include loss; displacement; families opening up doors to people they do not know; and other charitable acts. But, they are also stories of disruption of institutions or industries such as: healthcare, schools, water supply, petroleum and natural gas, farming (cotton, livestock), steel, banking, insurance and tourism. They are stories of domestic animals rescued after floods; of a people rescuing dogs, horses, cats, birds and stranded wild animals.
They were stories of people sharing the little they had in order for those who lost everything to get a blanket or that extra pair of shoes. In stories like these, there are families that never lost anything at all. There are other families in which loved ones drowned or went missing. Stories of heroic police officers who got injured or died in the line of duty are numerous. But still, the readiness of humanity to come together and address an emergency of this magnitude is a collective story Houston still tells to other cities of the world.
We pray for quick recovery for the people of Houston, Corpus Christi and other areas. We also pray for the dead and may their souls find eternal rest.
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