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2017 QC’s relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey victims

On August 17th, 2017, Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to cause catastrophic flooding, torrential winds, and high winds over eastern Texas. Hurricane Harvey was the first destructive Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. In over a 4-day time period, many areas in Texas received a disastrous 40 inches of rain, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of homes being flooded, 30,000 displaced persons, and more than 17,000 human rescues.

Hurricane Harvey was labeled as a Category 4 hurricane, and brought about several episodes of destruction throughout the country. It reached a tropical storm status on August 17th as it developed on the east of the Lesser Antilles. The storm then crossed through Windward Islands, passed south of Barbados and then crept closer to Saint Vincent the following day. Harvey began to weaken due to wind speeds, and degenerated north of Columbia on August 19th. However, Harvey then redeveloped over the Bay of Campeche on August 23rd, and began to rapidly intensify, regaining its tropical storm status and forming into a fully fledged hurricane on August 24th. From August 24th-25th, as Harvey moved northwest, the hurricane’s intensification began to drop before it strengthened and become a Category 4 hurricane. Harvey made its infamous landfall near Rockport, Texas at its peak intensity, and then continued on its way to Houston. It soon died down to a storm, and made its final downpour in Louisiana on August 29th.  On September 1st, Harvey became an extratropical storm, and completely disappeared by September 3rd.

Hurricane Harvey was not simply catastrophic. Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath will affect millions of Texas residents for years to come. 27 trillion gallons of rain was dumped on Texas and Louisiana in a short period of 6 days. 72,000 people have been rescued thus far, and about 30,000 people have been sent to temporary shelters. 215,000 students were out of school after Houston’s governing body cancelled classes, and 14,000 National Guard members were called to help the destroyed communities. Members of American Red Cross have also been dispatched to several areas in Texas to help with placement and basic needs of the Texan residents.

To show their support for the victims of the hurricane, the CUNY Queens College Student Association, the Catholic Newman Center and the Muslim Student Association collaboratively organized a fundraiser that raised money and collected donations of basic necessities such as clothes, food, diapers, medicine and much more. The idea to have a fundraiser began well before the semester started.

“Hurricane Harvey has caused a lot of damage and loss to families. I feel that it is necessary at a time like this to do something for those who are suffering. Organizing a fundraiser for such a devastating event is the least we can do to help and make a small impact,” Sneha Menon, vice-chair of public relations for Student Association, said.

Students were encouraged to bring in baked goods, snacks, and candy to help raise money for the fundraiser relief. Most students gave more than what was required of them to support a great cause.

The efforts of Queen’s College students did not stop at the fundraiser. Future Queens College events happening on campus will have donation boxes to continue raising funds.

“When we heard about the hurricane and all the families that were affected by it, we knew we had to do something to help support the cause. We teamed up with MSA, and in less than a week we planned and organized a fundraiser. From selling baked goods and miscellaneous items we were able to raise a little over $600. However, that money wasn’t just raised during the fundraiser itself. We also have a box for donations that will be placed at our upcoming events during Club Day, our Welcome Back Mixer, and the Business Club Kickoff,” Akila Wazeed, vice president of Student Association said.

Help can be found anywhere, whether it is from a large Red Cross chapter, or even students volunteering their time from Queens College. Hurricane Harvey was an event that will not be forgotten anytime soon. Fortunately, it will be remembered as a time where individuals around the world were able to help the survivors of a natural disaster.

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