After Harvey and Irma: How to Show Up

Between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it feels like our eyes have been glued to weather radar images nonstop for a month. More than 100,000 homes were damaged by flooding in Texas. It’s still too early to know the scope of the devastation caused by Irma.

We were launching our emergency response to Harvey just as Irma was bearing down on the Caribbean. We have friends and loved ones who were in the path of both storms, including staff in Florida who took a direct hit from Irma. (Thankfully, they and their family are safe.)

To all our friends in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean: we love you. We are with you as you recover and rebuild after two of the worst hurricanes in recent memory.

When we announced our emergency response to Harvey, it was our first such effort in the US, applying what we’ve learned over the last 10 years of serving in frontline emergencies across the Middle East. Houston is a place where our roots run deep. It’s been a home for many of us over the years. We know the people here. We have partnerships stretching back to our beginning as Preemptive Love Coalition (and even before that). We know who the helpers are. We know where to find them and how to amplify their impact.

Preemptive Love and local partners distribute water and supplies near Houston

Our Houston response has grown substantially in the first two weeks since Harvey. We’re supporting crews all over the city as they clean out flood-damaged homes. We’re trucking in tools and dehumidifiers. We’re identifying the most vulnerable, overlooked communities and showing up in these places. For example, we’re providing water and hygiene supplies for families in an impoverished, unincorporated part of Houston where no one else has been to help. We’ve rushed emergency relief to families in Beaumont who spent days without clean water. And our response continues to grow.

What’s clear right now is that we need to stay focused on Houston. The needs here are immense. You know how vital local expertise and local relationships are when responding to a disaster. As an organization, we don’t have the same level of expertise or the same connections or local partnerships in Florida or the Caribbean as we have in Houston.

But we are not turning our eyes—or our hearts—from our friends in Irma’s wake. As individuals, many of us are donating to organizations that are better poised than us to help families in Florida and the Caribbean. I’m asking you to do the same.

Here are two organizations we know and trust that are responding to families in need after Irma:

Help One Now
Help One Now serves children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. While not taking a direct hit, both countries experienced widespread flooding, damaging homes and crops. Help One Now is assessing the situation and meeting immediate needs, while making plans for a longer-term response if necessary.


World Relief
Our friends at World Relief have served refugees and vulnerable families on both sides of the ocean. World Relief is responding in Haiti, the Caribbean, and Florida to help residents fully recover from Hurricane Irma.


Note: By clicking these links, you will be leaving Preemptive Love Coalition’s website.

The frontlines are where we live—and within the space of a couple weeks, the’ve come to Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean in a profoundly visceral way. But in reality, they were always here, always calling for us to show up.

The question is not whether we show up; it’s how. Whether it’s Iraq or the US or anywhere else, this work has never just been about waters and war. It’s about more than rebuilding homes. It’s about remaking lives, about remembering that we belong to each other, and that there is no “us” versus “them.” It’s about coming alongside each other and together discovering the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

Please give to our friends to support those affected by Irma, even as you continue standing with families displaced by flooding in Texas and by conflict in Syria and Iraq.