Hurricane Harvey inundated the Houston and Beaumont areas in August 2017 after the storm dumped feet of rain over the course of several days.

Harvey made its initial landfall Aug. 26 near Rockport, Texas, as a Category 4 storm. It circled back out to the Gulf Coast and made a second landfall Aug. 27 near Copano Bay and moved slowly toward the Houston area. Harvey then moved back to the Gulf of Mexico and again made landfall on Aug. 30 just west of Cameron, Louisiana.

Harvey was the strongest hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years. It caused an estimated $180 billion in damage and will require years to make a full recovery along the Gulf Coast.

A significant portion of the damage came from flooding in the Houston and Beaumont areas. As a result of the storm, Cedar Bayou in Houston set a North American record with 51.88 inches.

The storm killed 77 people. Harvey also displaced more than 1 million people in the immediate aftermath, and it damaged an estimated 200,000 homes across a 300-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast.

FEMA issued major disaster declarations for Texas and Louisiana on Aug. 25 and Aug. 27, respectively. The declarations covered 41 Texas counties and 12 Louisiana parishes.

On Feb. 9, Congress passed an $89 billion relief bill for Hurricane Harvey and hurricanes in Florida and the Caribbean.

Victims of Hurricane Harvey have received the following aid:

  • $2.5 billion from FEMA in public assistance and individual grants
  • $335.9 million in private donations from 605 pledges

CDP’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund raised more than $14 million for long-term recovery in Texas. CDP made its first grant in October 2017 and plans to continue making grants through January 2019.  The grants have supported public-private meetings on recovery efforts and available resources, assisted with rebuilding healthy, safe homes that can withstand future flooding, expanded the Trauma and Grief Center at Texas Children’s Hospital’s Mobile Unit, and provided for the unmet needs of Harvey survivors.

Critical needs

  • Housing – There is significant need for repair, rebuild, and more affordable housing (particularly for renters and low-income families).
  • Economic/Community Development – Those communities (outside Houston and Harris County, especially) that were most affected have seen a dramatic decrease in businesses, jobs, and population (likely the result of lost employment and limited housing).
  • Health/Behavioral Health – there are signs with children in the schools of PTSD and with additional domestic issues with families. Additionally, many of those living at or below poverty levels have put off addressing chronic health issues because of financial strains.
  • Legal Assistance – Those who need help navigating the complicated assistance process and/or those with fragile document status need significant legal resources to support their recovery.
  • Environmental Impact – Many of these communities are hubs for the petrochemical industry. The impact of the storm on this industry and the environment surrounding them is just now surfacing. A “second-storm” of air pollution has recently been reported by the state.


If you are a responding NGO or a donor, please send updates on how you are working in this crisis to sally.ray@disasterphilanthropy.org.

If you are a donor looking for recommendations on how to help in this crisis, please email regine.webster@disasterphilanthropy.org.

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