The recent flooding in Houston due to Hurricane Harvey, is a historic once in a 100-year calamity. Harvey struck Houston on the 27th of August as a Category 4 hurricane. The enormity of Hurricane Harvey can be judged by the fact that by the afternoon of August 27th, an estimated 9 trillion gallons of rain had fallen in the Greater Houston/Southeast Texas region. This is more than any documented tropical system in US history. An additional 5-10 trillion gallons of water (19 to 38 km3) are expected to be poured into the region before the storm moves out.
In the face of this enormous disaster, hundreds of students from India studying in the University of Houston found them to be completely marooned, helpless and stranded without water, power, and drainage. Some of them had been even suffering from chicken pox when Hurricane Harvey struck the city of Houston. However SEWA International, an organization which has lent a helping hand in many natural and manmade disasters globally in the last 10 years quickly launched itself with full force to help the stranded students.
Through social media, more than 250 students from India were identified. According to Shalin who was VP of Graduate Indian Student Organization (GISO), a University of Houston organization, “Twenty of my friends were stranded in the apartment. For 24 hours we were without power. Storm water was rising and strong winds were blowing outside. Food was getting over and we had no clue where to turn to next. It was then that SEWA International volunteers came and rescued us. The Consulate General of India in Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray also came along with the team.”
Madhav, a University of Houston student who was rescued yesterday afternoon by the SEWA International team and is currently housed in the BAPS Temple premises said, “Despite all the hardship we faced, this disaster showed us how to help the community. The way SEWA International volunteers helped, it will inspire us to help the community in the future as well.”
Vivek Sharda, a community leader helping the students said, “SEWA International volunteers have made detailed arrangements, ensuring food supply for the next 3-4 days. Yesterday, we helped many students to shift from the ground floor to the first, second and third floors of the Startford Apartment, located at the intersection of Stella Link and Linkwood and over a neck deep of water at present. Many students were moved to Scotland Yard and Holly Hall apartments as well. We have made facilities so that at least 100 more students can be easily accommodated with different families in the next few days, if required.”
The student community has thanked SEWA International for ensuring their safety and for supporting them as family in the face of the worst natural disaster in US history.
Those interested to donate to SEWA International can donate through the following link.
Affected students can contact SEWA International volunteers through the helpline number 281-909-SEWA
Source: World Hindu News (WHN)