How Houston Can Prepare for the Next Hurricane Harvey

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How Houston Can Prepare for the Next Hurricane Harvey

Meriam Al-Awady, Writer

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My heart goes out to the people that had to suffer from the devastating hurricane and still face continued flooding recovery. As a city, I believe we need to be better prepared for such catastrophic floods to reduce their widespread damage and loss of life. Harvey’s 50 inches of rain in a few days might be unusual, but extensive flooding with its property damage and loss of life is not.

After such a disaster, I believe it is time to stop saying, “there is not going to be a flood” or “the news is making a big deal” to fool ourselves into believing that we are all going to be safe and fine. We have the tools to prepare and we need be bold enough to use them.

First, stop building and rebuilding in areas that experience repeated floods. This requires lots of work and costs much for the city. Local governments set zoning rules and collect the property taxes, and local builders profit from construction, but neither of these groups pays for rebuilding after a flood. (Ferraro, Paul J. “Start Preparing for the next Hurricane Harvey.” The Denver Post, The Denver Post, 30 Aug. 2017)

Second, households should start to make a plan for the next flood and/or hurricane. For instance, build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media.

Lastly, we have to help as a community altogether. We can help people from family members to even strangers. No one should be left out when we are all calling out for help. One of the best and fastest ways to assist disaster victims after a storm is to donate money to local nonprofits that are responding to the disaster. Charities such as the Red Cross specialize in providing relief in disaster areas. Your donation will help put experienced disaster respondents while giving them the necessary tools to aid in recovery. If you are able to volunteer, this would be great as well. If you’re not in the financial position to donate money, there are other ways you can help. For example, volunteering is a great way to help in recovery and allows you to help out in the community. You can contribute to disaster relief efforts by, collecting cash or other necessary donations, host a fundraiser or even volunteer in a hurricane shelter.

All in all, I believe that Hurricane Harvey was a big experience and we need to take that experience and use it to inspire us to better prepare for the next disaster that comes. Whatever may come, I am sure Houston will be strong as a whole to take down our next obstacle and will be well prepared!