In two back-to-back assaults on the mainland, Mother Nature sent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hurling into the American southeast. The destruction from the former in Houston and surrounding areas has news commentators already drawing comparisons to Hurricane Katrina. Many residents of New Orleans have struggled to fully recover from the devastation left in the wake of that storm, so many now are hoping that the lessons learned from Katrina will be applied to the situation in southeastern Texas.
It seems like a nightmare come true – two record-setting hurricanes batter the United States in less than a week. Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane, has been called “the most destructive hurricane” in the United States in the past 13 years. Hurricane Irma is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic and left disaster in its wake in many Caribbean islands and widespread flooding and property damage in Florida. Time has reported the death toll for Hurricane Harvey to be at least 70 and at least 24 for Hurricane Irma. These preliminary numbers could continue to rise, along with calculations of billions of dollars in damage. The public seeks an explanation as to what caused the severity of these storms. Most importantly, many question if human-induced climate change had a role in causing these hurricanes.
On August 25, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. The storm devastated the state, destroying homes and business and claiming many lives. Faced with such dire circumstances, many people living in Texas found and continue to find themselves in need of assistance from others. Many have stepped up to provide support. At least two prominent donors faced public criticism for their donation efforts. Popular television cook Rachel Ray donated $1 million specifically to shelters providing disaster relief to animals. Actress Ruby Rose took to Twitter to announce her intention to match donations up to $10,000 for relief to the Montrose LGBT center in Houston.