In the last couple weeks, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have hit the coasts of the southern United States and surrounding countries, devastating millions of homes and hundreds of cities. Harvey and Irma are the only Category 4 Atlantic storms to ever hit the United States in
Harvey hit Houston, TX on August 25, 2017, leaving 51 inches of rain and drenching the city, along with surrounding areas. At least 31 people have been killed in the wake of the tropical storm, and rescuers continue to search by boat for bodies and survivors, according to the Dallas News.
Many civilians and police are still searching for people, and some refugees are still looking for somewhere safe and dry to stay. More than 30,000 victims of Hurricane Harvey are expected to be placed in temporary shelters in the US state of Texas, and there has been some questioning about Joel Osteen, a Houston televangelist who originally would not open his doors to his multi-million dollar church for refugees. The LakeWood church is elevated and has recently been proven to have little to no flooding damage, the perfect place for people in need of food, water, shelter, and rest.
Osteen originally stated that the LakeWood church that seats 16,800 is flooded and damaged, and will not be taking in refugees. He received backlash when many social media posts proved the church was usable and had no rain damage. Osteen responded to the feedback by changing his original story.
“We have never closed our doors,” Osteen said in an interview covered by ABC News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We will continue to be a distribution center to those in need. We are prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm.”
Hurricane Irma came shortly after Harvey, and some would argue it came with deadlier costs. Irma affected areas such as Florida, Cuba, Cape Verde, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Caicos islands, Guadeloupe, Havana, Saint Martin, the Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Greater Antilles, and Indian river county.
According to the Miami Herald, the death toll of Hurricane Irma as of September 19 was 42, and the number keeps rising. The deaths caused by Irma aren’t only caused by the rain and flooding, they also stem from city-wide power outages. Ten people have died after a Florida nursing home lost use of it’s air conditioning in the aftermath of Irma, putting patients in the sweltering heat and humidity of Miami.
Tropical storms Irma and Harvey will leave long lasting effects because of the devastation of power plants in hundreds of cities in the southern United States and surrounding countries. According to The Guardian news, the regions affected have years of recovery ahead. The aftermath will be devastating, but month after month the people of these cities will work to bring areas back to their original state.