Hurricane Harvey and Irma devastate US and Caribbean


Hurricane Harvey makes landfall in Texas, home to many Salem siblings

On Friday, August 25th around 10pm, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category 4 storm – one of the most powerful to hit the United States in over a decade. The slow-moving hurricane dumped a record-breaking 52 inches of rain on the Houston area in a matter of days. Across the country, the overwhelming effects of the storm can be felt. Millions of lives were changed last month, including those of some of our Salem Siblings.

Sophomore Maria Aguirre, from the southwest Houston area, knows that her family was lucky to come out of the storm unscathed. Before the first week of classes had even ended, Maria’s home was in danger. “It definitely took a toll on my mental health,” she said, “I couldn’t get away from it.”

The storm was worse than anyone ever expected, and according to Maria, “It was based on a best guess, and it this case, that guess turned out really bad.” By the time the city realized how dangerous the storm would be, it was too late to begin evacuations. Roads had collapsed, and some were already underwater in some areas. The death toll related to Hurricane Harvey is currently estimated at 82.

Sophomore Allix Kean from Cady, Texas lost a friend as a result of the flooding in the Houston area. More of her friends’ homes were nearly destroyed. “We don’t expect people to understand or to feel the pain that we feel,” she said, “but it’s not a joke.” The financial burden of Hurricane Harvey is expected to range from $70 billion to $180 billion. “It’s going to take years to rebuild.” Allix pointed out. “This is my city, these are my people, and they’re struggling.”

There are plenty of ways to offer help and support to Harvey victims. “Just talk to someone and see how they feel,” Allix Kean suggested. Financial support is also desperately needed. First-year Mary Daniels, also from the Houston area, plans to raise money for the Houston Independent School District’s relief efforts, an organization that aims to provide students with a rigorous education in a safe environment.  YES Prep Public Schools, a network of public charter schools in the Greater Houston area, is raising money to help its families recover as well. As an Alumna from YES Prep Gulfton, Maria says she would not be at Salem without the school’s support.

Our thoughts are with the city of Houston during this desperate time, and our deepest condolences go out to the families of those who were lost.

For now, you can go to to donate using a credit or debit card. Your contribution will go to help families of the HISD recover from Hurricane Harvey. To donate to the YES Prep Flood Relief Fund, go here.

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