Busy hurricane season terrorizes Caribbean and Gulf regions
Hurricane Harvey swept through southeast Texas and then crossed into Louisiana, leaving tens of thousands of people displaced and structures damaged. The Environmental Protection Agency announced at least 13 toxic waste sites were flooded or received damage from the storm. Although there is no immediate danger, the agency will investigate as soon as flood waters recede.
Fortunately, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has already begun efforts to repair affected areas and send money to insurance companies. They have set up a website for volunteers and people who wish to donate. The site also has a link to trusted charities and for the 30 Texas counties’ emergency-management sites.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas will not need a special session to address the needs of displaced people. The state has about $10.3 billion dollars in their rainy day fund but is holding off on dipping into it. Lawmakers are preparing for the session in 2019, as Speaker Joe Straus says they will seek new ways to reduce the impact of future storms.
Hurricane Irma has already hit the Caribbean islands and devastated the Florida Keys.
Other islands affected include Barbuda and the Virgin Islands.
St. Martin, a French and Dutch territory, and its nearest islands have experienced major damage and flooding. French Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb said even the most durable buildings were destroyed.
“In all likelihood, the more rustic buildings are probably totally or partially destroyed,” he said.
Other southern islands are expected to have massive storm surges. Roughly 95 percent of Barbuda has been destroyed, and 60 percent of the population is now homeless.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda said the latter island is now basically rubble. He estimates $100 million dollars is needed for rebuilding efforts.
The storm was expected to devastate U.S. territory Puerto Rico, which is already suffering from large amounts of debt and is in a state of bankruptcy. Luckily, the island only experienced minor scuffs and was able to provide refuge and emergency relief to people in less-fortunate circumstances.
The Weather Channel and the National Weather Service are closely monitoring the hurricanes and their paths.