When disaster strikes, the best in people often comes out. That was certainly true in southeast Texas over the last week when neighbors turned out to help neighbors and volunteers poured in from across the country to help with rescue efforts.
Another rescue effort that got perhaps less attention was made by the people who pulled out all the stops to try to help some of the most helpless caught up in the wind and the floodwaters — the animals.
From household pets to farm stock, the folks at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service took in hundreds of animals at the fairgrounds in Angleton, Texas.
DONATED FOOD: Volunteers have stockpiled bags of food and bales of hay to take care of animals brought to the Brazoria County fairgrounds after being rescued from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by Kathleen Phillips)
My friend Kathleen Phillips has worked at Texas A&M for decades and is the secretary-treasurer of the North American Ag Journalists group of which I am proud to be a member and past president. She has been sending out messages about the animal rescue effort and the impacts of the storm and recently uploaded several photos from the shelter.
The impact on the agriculture industry from this storm has been horrific. I have seen pictures of cattle lying dead in the roadway as the waters receded from the Rockport area where Harvey roared ashore. The floodwaters will cause millions of dollars of damage to hay supplies.
UNLOADING: Volunteers unload truckloads of animal feed to be stockpiled in the Angleton shelter and supply point. (Photo by Kathleen Phillips)
Thousands of modules of cotton in farm fields were awaiting pickup by gins when the storm hit. Most of those will be hopelessly damaged after being under water for days.
There hasn’t even been an estimate yet of grain losses at the ports of Houston and Corpus Christi or in storage at flooded terminals.
In Beaumont and Port Arthur the rivers were still rising on Friday, a week after Harvey made landfall for the first time near Rockport and two days after the second landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border.
FEATHERED FRIENDS, TOO: Crates of chickens, guineas, ducks and other birds were part of the “Brazoria menagerie” at the fairgrounds in Angleton, Texas, as animals continue to be rescued from areas hard hit by Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by Kathleen Phillips)
It will be weeks before the damage can even be fully documented, and the need will go on for months after Harvey is no longer in the daily headlines.
Kansas farmers who have battled their share of tornadoes, floods, droughts and wildfires know well how long it takes to fully recover from a disaster that leaves you standing in the rubble and wondering where to start.
Just as they always do, those families will be sending truckloads of hay and animal feed to those ranchers struggling to rebuild in Texas.
FRIENDLY FACES: Horses rescued from the areas hit by Hurricane Harvey have found refuge at the animal shelter and supply point being operated by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension at the Brazoria County fairgrounds in Angleton, Texas. (Photo by Kathleen Phillips)
For those who don’t have much to give, don’t be ashamed of the size of your gift. When I bought groceries in Dillons a few days ago, I noticed a sign at the cashier station, asking shoppers to “round up” their grocery bill and the change would be donated to Harvey relief. The store manager told me that it is amazing how much that “pocket change” adds up to over a few weeks. So, if that’s all you can do, just do it.