By now, folks have seen plenty of news coverage of the disaster unfolding in Texas as a result of flooding from Hurricane Harvey. By all accounts this flooding is worse than anything that Houston has ever seen. Some neighborhoods are entirely under water. Hospitals in the Medical Center are being evacuated. There are air and boat rescues already numbering in the 1000s, and estimates are that some 30,000 people will need emergency shelter once the storm passes.
A lot can and must be said about the structural causes of this devastation, climate change and the responses by the state thus far. At this moment, conditions are fluctuating rapidly and many people are in survival mode so it’s unclear what kind of immediate needs people are facing across the city. Most neighborhoods, streets and major highways are experiencing extreme flooding and are not passable by car or even on foot. Offers of mutual aid are pouring in but at this time we don’t have a safe recommendation for how people outside the city can get in without putting themselves in grave risk.
As we continue to connect with comrades and loved ones who are stranded around different parts of the city and gather additional details about conditions, we can only share a few notes about what’s going on and options for long-distance support:
1) It’s been reported that ICE will not check for or detain undocumented immigrants at emergency shelters in the Houston area. However, there have been reports of ICE refusing to assist undocumented folks in need of shelter. As far as we’ve heard, here is a list of shelters that people can turn to if needed:http://abc13.com/weather/
2) Some areas around nearby prisons and detention facilities have been put under mandatory evacuation, but it’s not clear what the state plans to do to provide safe shelter to incarcerated folks. Our friends atAnarchist Black Cross Houston Chapter recommend calling prison officials and letting them know the public is watching and concerned:https://www.facebook.com/
3) If you have experience as a street medic or medical training, hit up the good folks with Bayou Action Street Health – BASH to find out how to support their efforts: https://www.facebook.com/
4) Groups like Tejas Barrios are keeping an eye on the vast industrial area of refineries and petrochemical plants in Southeast Houston, and any growing hazards of contamination. They’ve already posted some video footage and news interviews:https://www.facebook.com/