Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers are currently helping with search and rescue efforts ongoing in Houston, Texas. As of Aug. 29, FWC officers had rescued more than 200 Texans.
Search and rescue efforts continue as the people of Texas endure the devastation and flooding left behind after a Category 4 made landfall about 11 p.m. Aug. 25 on the Texas coast between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent help from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Aug. 26 and more FWC resources were deployed Aug. 27-28. At last count, nearly 125 officers had traveled to Houston, taking with them more than 40 boats, eight shallow draft vessels, 17 high-water vehicles and two mobile command centers.
As of Aug. 29, FWC officers had rescued more than 200 Texans, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
Personnel from St. Petersburg Rescue left for Texas Aug. 27 as part of Urban Search and Rescue Florida Task Force 3, which also includes Tampa and Hillsborough to answer a request from Texas for two swift water rescue teams. Eighteen team members were deployed along with logistical support members.
As of Aug. 29, OneBlood had sent nearly 300 units of blood and pledged to continue supplying the needs in Texas as long as necessary. However, help from the public is needed.
OneBlood is urging all eligible donors to give blood as soon as possible. All blood types are needed but there is an urgent call for O negative and O positive, as well as platelets and plasma donation. For more information, visit oneblood.org/donate-now or call 1-888-9DONATE (888-936-6283).
How to help
Residents who want to donate are advised to use caution to make sure donations get to the people in need.
“The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey prompts us to do what we can to help as soon as possible,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance. “But donors need to be aware of some key cautions so that the generosity will get to those in need quickly.”
The state of Texas recommends that people donate cash to a recognized charity. Visit https://emergency.portal.texas.gov/ for more information. The city of Houston has established a website at ghcf.org/hurricane-relief and a phone number, 800-924-5985, for residents, organizations, companies and groups to call from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday to ask questions about making donations. Another good website for information on ways to donate is www.nvoad.org.
Officials are still assessing the damage while response to flooding concerns continues to take precedent. The National Weather Service said Aug. 29 that “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” was continuing in southeastern Texas and portions of southwestern Louisiana. A rain gauge at Cedar Bayou, east of Highlands, Texas, reported 51.88 inches the afternoon of Aug. 29. The previous record of 48 inches was set during tropical cyclone Amelia at Medina, Texas in 1978.