Issue Update News

NAACP Statement on Hurricane Harvey Recovery

September 1, 2017

For those in need of emergency assistance following Hurricane Harvey, please follow the directions of your elected officials and consult our website for suggestions on how to give and receive help.  

Hurricane Harvey has devastated the Texas Gulf Coast: as of today, September 1, at least 38 people have been reported dead and tens of thousands remain displaced, huddled in overcrowded, under-resourced shelters. We extend our thoughts, prayers, and support to all of the individuals tragically affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The NAACP is committed to ensuring a just recovery for the people of Texas. The clean-up process must be both rapid and responsible; relief resources must be equitably distributed – with no street overlooked.  

We must pay special attention to Texas’ frontline communities, for whom the hurricane’s effects can be especially disastrous. As of a 2015 Census report, Texas’ poverty rate hovered around 16 percent – just above the national average – but that rate jumped to 23 percent for children and 21.4 percent for black residents. With almost 500 oil refineries and chemical complexes in Houston alone, industry reigns supreme in Texas, often at the expense of communities of color and those living below the poverty line. Hurricane Harvey recovery will expose the depth of this inequity. 

Many of Houston’s industrial sites were damaged in the storm, and, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, these industries have already released more than two million pounds of hazardous substances that are linked to cancer and a host of other health issues

Two blasts were reported overnight Wednesday at a chemical plant in Crosby, TX, 30 miles to the northeast of Houston, and more are feared in the coming days.  

The NAACP has engaged with FEMA and state and local chapters of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to provide the necessary support and volunteer force. 

The NAACP Texas State Conference has been active on the ground: the North Shore Community Response Team coordinated a 15-hour emergency operation that succeeded in reuniting 3,500 individuals with their families and placing them in a safe shelter. From the parking lot of a Walmart Supercenter in northeast Houston, NAACP volunteers partnered with Harris County sheriffs, Constable Precinct 3, and the Galena Park School District to coordinate a fleet of buses to bring local residents to dry, safe land.   

Recovery will be ongoing. We thank all those who have aided relief efforts this week.