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How Pittsburghers Can Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

David J. Phillip
Evacuees wade down a flooded section of Interstate 610 as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey sent devestating floods pouring into Houston.

Volunteers and rescue workers from the Pittsburgh area are making their way south to help flood victims in Texas.

Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 storm, made landfall on Friday along Texas' Gulf Coast. Flooding from the nearly 50 inches of rain so far has displaced thousands of residents and caused damage to countless homes and businesses. Now a tropical storm, emergency responders are struggling to assess the storm's ongoing impact and aid those affected. 

As of Monday, 26 Western Pennsylvania Red Cross workers had traveled to assist with damage assessment, sheltering and emergency vehicle deployment, including CEO Patricia Waldinger. According to a release, about 1,800 people took refuge in one of 34 regional shelters.

Spokesman Dan Tobin said they welcome Pittsburghers willing to volunteer time or donate funds to the cause.

The Pittsburgh District Army Corps of Engineers sent 16 experts to help install generators for emergency power, and 45 members of PA Task Force One departed from Philadelphia yesterday for Forth Worth to help with water rescues.

"The images coming out of Texas are heartbreaking and difficult to imagine," said Gov. Tom Wolf in a statement. "We know that this will be a long-term response and recovery effort, and Pennsylvania stands ready to provide whatever help we can to citizens and first responders in Texas or any other state impacted by the storm."

The team is trained to deal with heavy rigging and structural issues, hazardous materials and canines. Previous deployments for Task Force One include Hurricane Floyd, the World Trade Center site after the September 11th attacks and Hurricane Katrina. They aren't sure how long they will stay in Texas.

NPR also has reporters in or around the Houston area. Keep up with their stories here.

Where you can donate:

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Red Cross
Salvation Army / Catholic Charities
Houston Food Bank/ Corpus Christi Food Bank / Feeding Texas
United Way/ United Way of Southwestern PA
Global Giving / Go Fund Me for Hurricane Harvey
SPCA / Austin Pets Alive / San Antonio Humane Society / Houston Humane Society / Humane Society of Louisiana
Hope Family Thrift Store
Texas Diaper Bank
Discoll Children’s Hospital
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies
Coalition for the Homeless of Houston  
Heart To Heart International
North American Mission Board

WITF in Harrisburg contributed to this report.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community. kblackley@wesa.fm