Rising up from under: Cities destroyed by Hurricane Harvey recover


Wreckage at Executive Keys located in Port Aransas. Photo by Executive Keys.

After Hurricane Harvey hit on August 17, 2017, and lasted until the beginning of September, a number of Texas cities have been ruined. The impact of the cyclone destroyed homes, outdoor areas, and local businesses. Some of the most affected areas include Houston, Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, and Rockport, all in different ways. We were able to see an impact on the environment, housing of residents, the public’s health, and the economy.

Residents watched as their houses collapsed and were ruined by water damage seeing the aftermath and becoming homeless. Being without electricity has raised health issues, and without proper shelter illness, for example, Mosquito-borne illnesses, and respiratory problems.in children is increasing. Businesses saw their buildings blown in and wrecked. And after the worst of it, over 20,000 were left homeless.

After Harvey, the areas that were most damaged were supported by funding from federal agencies, the private sector, celebrity donations, and donations from surrounding towns. Unfortunately, despite all the aid, Texans are still struggling to fully recover. This includes people in need of permanent housing, building up businesses in order to continue employment, and keeping children safe and healthy under these conditions. An additional difficulty is the uneven distribution of crisis aid and efforts.

“I was in shock,”  Ann Weisendurger commented. Weisendurger owns Executive Keys, a business located in Port Aransas that rents out condos to visitors and has had to start up again after the damage. “As the time went on, you really discover how much damage really hit. It cost over a million dollars to remediate.”

Many groups were impacted by the hurricane, spanning individuals of all backgrounds. With the hurricane hitting one of the largest cities in the US, starting a spark of staying together and emphasized the importance of community.

“In terms of the community, [Houston] is a big city with a lot of backgrounds. So many people were impacted, even now people are still trying to fix their lives. It definitely brought everyone closer together. People still are trying to get their head wrapped around the fact that this happened,”  Houston resident Anusha Lalani said. “I know that the conversation still needs to be going, just like with Puerto Rico. We still need to remember that this was a big thing that happened and is happening.”

Aid was provided from all around the country, including from celebrities: Ellen DeGeneres, Nicki Minaj, the Kardashian family, Beyonce, Sandra Bullock all provided aid to Harvey victims, and Kevin Hart started a donation challenge. Donating also reached a more personal level as schools hosted donation drives to help those around them. These donations went to what the residents of affected towns needed to keep going.

“We have a sister school over in Houston and even though they have a lot of students that weren’t necessarily impacted by Hurricane Harvey, a lot of families that they knew in the Houston area were impacted,” Ann Richards Vice Principal Ms. Brianna Castano said. “We wanted to collaborate with them and put in our little piece to help their community rise after what happened.”

Despite eight months passing since the hurricane landed, many individuals are still without homes, jobs, and remain impacted by the loss of loved ones.

“You got to have the funds to do the work,”  Weisendurger said “There are still stores and restaurants that need your business. The beach was not hit, it is still beautiful. Anything the public can do to put money into the economy down here helps.”


All photos courtesy of Exec