Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas a week ago today, as updates on it’s utter devastation spread around the country and world. The death toll continues to rise as areas of Texas and Louisiana experience severe flooding, with some areas getting as much as 50 inches of rain over the course of the storm.
The powerful storm has been compared to Hurricane Katrina in the extent of its damage and the challenges residents will face as the floodwaters recede and rebuilding begins. But like Katrina and many other natural disasters, it’s in the face of destruction that people often show powerful resilience, the importance of community and the necessity of hope.
Resiliency means the ability to “bounce back,” or adapt in the face of adversity, trauma or extreme stress, as Steven M. Southwick, M.D., and Dennis S. Charney, M.D. write in their book Resilience. This can be an individual or collective effort to stand strong in the face of hardship. The authors point to a poignant metaphor about why resilience matters from Harvard University psychologist George Vaillant in his book Aging Well. Vaillant writes how resilient people are like “a twig with a fresh, green living core. When twisted out of shape, such a twig bends, but it does not break; instead, it springs back and continues growing.”
Here are six stories about hope and resilience after Hurricane Harvey and ways you can help people spring back and continue growing, too.
As Harvey Rains Down Devastation, Houston Stands Together—The New York Times
Unfortunately, there have been some internet scams circulating that aren’t offering legitimate ways to help Harvey’s victims. Check out this article from NPR on verified ways you can help, from blood and food donation to animal rescue.