TEXAS – As people in Texas endured one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the United States since Katrina, Red Cross volunteers from Connecticut stepped in to help. The storm came in as a Category 4 late Friday night and threw heavy winds and buckets of rain all at once.
Mayor Charles Wax said the Texas Coastal City of Rockport has suffered “widespread devastation.” The hurricane hit Port Aransas and Port O’Connor around 11 p.m. Friday and by mid-Saturday morning, it was reduced to a Category 1.
It has been confirmed one person died in Rockport and 12 to 14 people have been injured.
A director with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) said Harvey has the highest potential to kill the most amount of people and cause the most damage. Over a dozen Red Cross volunteers from Connecticut arrived in Houston Thursday afternoon, ready to help those affected before Harvey made landfall.
“This is a massive storm of record proportions, so unfortunately for the folks down in Texas, they’re going to be dealing with this for the next 48 hours to 72 hours,” Richard Branigan, Red Cross Chief Program Officer.
Another member of the Connecticut Red Cross team, Stefanie Arcangelo said recovery efforts have been nonstop but their number one priority has been safety and providing shelter.
“Our goal right now is to just make sure we have safe shelter for people and they have food to eat and then the process will change as we move forward but that is our number one goal and priority right now,” said Arcangelo.
Volunteers have been running on minimal sleep and they said it has been the last of their worries as their mentality is centered around keeping residents safe and providing them with the best care.
“It’s really not about us. A lot of people last night had a very rough night and the rain is going to come and things are going to get worse,” added Arcangelo.
The Red Cross said they plan to shelter more than 20,000 people over a period of weeks or months and they are expected to stay down there for ten to 14 days.
Members from the Berlin Police Department also stepped up to help and FOX61 spoke to one officer who said recovery will take a long time.
“They lost everything so it’s just a get it done, can do attitude – a lot different scenario than working your regular job because you just get it done no matter what because these people need you,” said David Cruickshank of the Berlin Police Department.
Rescue teams are preparing for another round of heavy rain. They said this storm is just beginning and they will do their best to provide refuge for anyone in need.
Even though the storm has weakened, the chief of FEMA sent out a tweet and said Harvey is still a dangerous storm and is turning into a deadly inland event.
The National Weather Service predicted Harvey could still linger as a tropical storm through early Wednesday and then weaken into a tropical depression.