IRUSA Team Staffs ‘Mega Shelter’ in Texas for Hurricane Harvey Evacuees

Islamic Relief USA’s disaster response team is in Texas this week, caring for people forced from their homes by Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic floods.

Harvey slammed into the Texas coast on Friday, Aug. 25, as a category 4 hurricane, the most powerful storm to hit the United States in a decade. But the greatest danger and damage came in the form of flooding after it was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Harvey has been stalled over Houston for days, dumping trillions of gallons of rain that turned roads into rivers and flooded houses with upwards of 6 feet of water.

IRUSA’s team is working with the American Red Cross to run a “mega shelter” hosting thousands of evacuees in the Dallas convention center. After the floodwaters subside, they expect to head out into neighborhoods to assess damage for the Red Cross.

Harvey is causing unprecedented damage.

J. Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia, told the New York Times, “This could go down as the worst flood disaster in U.S. history.”

Between Thursday night and early Monday morning, parts of the southeast Houston area had received more than 30 inches of rain. Totals are expected to reach up to 50 inches before the storm leaves. At least 5 people have died.

The damage from flooding on this scale takes a long time to recover from. IRUSA staff went to Texas straight from North Carolina, where they had spent a week rebuilding homes damaged by flooding in Hurricane Matthew last October.