Harvey repeats devastation back on shore in Texas, Louisiana

Volunteer Derek Burke, right, helps carry a family’s belongings last week after boaters rescued them from flooding in the aftermath of Harvey in Beaumont, Texas.

The Associated Press

What’s happening in Houston is an American tragedy.

Hurrican Harvey’s blow was swift and fierce. Rain pummeled the region for days, causing drownings and other deaths. It flooded homes, buildings and roads, leading to destruction and making dangerous conditions even more perilous.

And then it moved into Louisiana and Mississippi, where it hit more communities and caused more damage and suffering.

Though the sun started to come out late last week and water levels started to come down, untold numbers of people are still suffering — and will be for a long time.

Houston isn’t what we think of when we imagine a flood-prone city. That means many people don’t have flood insurance. To repair their homes, they’ll have to dip deep into savings or go into debt. This is the kind of problem whose painful effects will be felt for years, the kind of problem from which some families might never recover.

Most of all, though, it is an American problem. And it calls for an American solution.

Some Wyomingites have already made the trek south to do what they can for storm victims. They’re taking time out of their lives to provide assistance to strangers in distress. Given the enormity of this situation – the sheer magnitude of the storm’s devastation – this action is nothing short of heroic. Lives are in jeopardy, and these people are doing all they can to save them.

Wyoming and Texas have similar self-sufficient attitudes. But our Texas neighbors need help. If we were hit with a ruinous snowstorm, for example, we’d appreciate aid from our neighbors, both near and far. That’s what Houstonians and other storm victims need now.

These people might not live next door, but they are our neighbors. We might not know them, but they are our countrymen and fellow human beings, and they need our help. They have in many cases been forced from their homes and separated from the people they love, the things they own and the life-sustaining supplies – food, clean water, medicine – they need.

Take time to consider what you can do. Can you send money? Fundraise online? Give time?

Whatever you can do, please follow in your fellow Wyomingites’ footsteps and do it. And if you’re generous and fortunate enough to be in a position to give money, make sure to scrutinize the charity you’ve selected to receive it. CharityNavigator.org rates nonprofits and other organizations on transparency and accountability. That’s a good place to start making sure your money is doing all the good it can.

The summer has been a polarized one for the country, with protests, injuries and deaths. This is our time to come together, to unite in service of one common cause. This is a chance for Americans to show they are up to the challenge. Let’s seize that opportunity.

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