Flood watch

Imelda Was Worse Than Imagined. Here's How You Can Help Others (and Yourself).

Rescues, tips, charities, and more.

By Morgan Kinney September 19, 2019

The general reaction is clear: Imelda feels like it came out of nowhere. The storm's impact has been both devastating and uneven, with some parts of Houston absorbing the rain while areas to east report conditions "worse than Harvey." Here are some options to help and get help, adapted from our experience in 2017. We'll continue to update this post with additional charity options.

An option to deal with high-water rescues: Crowdsource Rescue

To be clear: 911 should always be your first choice, but emergency management officials across the region are struggling to keep up with the influx of calls. This crowdsourced service connects people who need immediate help with local volunteers who can render aid. It's a proven success, with more than 50,000 people rescued through the service during Harvey, Irma, and other flooding emergencies. Wellness checks are also available. At the very least, help spread the word.

What to Do If Your House Has Flooded

"Homes that did not flood in Harvey are flooding now," Jackson County Judge Jeff Branick told the Chron of the situation near Beaumont. We still recommend this Reddit thread from a Baton Rouge transplant on what to do after a flood. TL;DR — Gather important documents, get a FEMA number, and start thinking about demolition.

What to Do If Your Car Has Flooded

At least 10,000 vehicles were damaged by Tropical Storm Imelda. Check out this rundown from the Chron—most of all, do not start your car.

Offer/Receive Free Airbnb Accommodation

Airbnb is facilitating free housing for those in need of shelter. If you need shelter, or are willing to offer space in your home, find more information here.

There Are Several Shelters Open Around the County


Don't Get Scammed When Donating 

If you decide to make a monetary donation, ProPublica has a handy list of tips on how to make your donation go farthest (Vox.com also has great guide). The big takeaways are to try to donate to local charities with deep community ties, and to always do your homework on the charity before breaking out your checkbook. 

When it comes to rebuilding, the Consumerist has compiled a list of ways to avoid scams from contractors, charities, and rental properties. Try to get a recommendation from a friend, always ask for licensing information, and avoid paying in cash or with large upfront payments. It’s also important to remain patient; there are only so many contractors and construction workers to go around, and it’s best to wait and get it done right.

Donate to These Charities/Funds:

Get the Word Out, and Lend a Hand

If you or your personal network are able to help in any way, share those opportunities by word of mouth, via social media, and general good vibes. Offer your time. If you have a chainsaw or a boat, lend a hand to your neighbors. Above all: Stay safe.

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