Prayers, aid offered amid floods as Texas parishes grapple with Harvey
The 200-home community of McDade Estates down the road from Sacred Heart Parish in Houston had just hours to evacuate on 27th August. City officials knocked door-to-door, alerting residents to escape to higher ground.
Hours later, authorities released historic amounts of water from Lake Conroe as Tropical Storm Harvey continued to flood southeast Texas with as much as 50 inches of rain. Lake Conroe surged past record numbers, forcing city officials to advise more neighbourhoods to evacuate as the San Jacinto River churned with floodwaters through Conroe, located 45 miles north of Houston.
Less than three miles away, surrounded by donations of clothes, water and food, Fr Philip Wilhite, Sacred Heart Church’s parish priest, said Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at the parish to house flood victims on 28th August. The shelter served many of the communities, some less than two miles from the church, flooded by the rising San Jacinto.
Despite the rain, Fr Wilhite said “this has been very joyful, to see people come together all in good spirits, doing what we can to help each other.”
Sacred Heart joined a number of parishes, including St Anthony of Padua Parish in The Woodlands, throughout the 10-county Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston that assisted with flood relief as emergency shelters or donation sites on 29th August. Shelters across the region served thousands of people including a downtown convention center housing about 10,000 people by nightfall.
Picture: People are evacuated by volunteers in waist-deep floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on 29th August in Houston. (CNS photo/Rick Wilking, Reuters).Tags: Harvey, Houston, Hurricane Harvey, Texas