Destruction, widespread loss in south Texas hard to fathom

America stands united this week in offering sympathy and support for victims of one of the most devastating storms in our nation’s history.
The images from Texas and Louisiana are horrifying, showing mile after mile of flooded landscape in Harvey’s wake, which doubled as a hurricane and tropical storm, lingering for days while dumping rain of almost Biblical proportions.
We have watched for more than a week now as heartbreaking stories of death, rescue and drama played out again and again and again in the South. Tornadoes hit hard here in the Midwest and can wipe entire towns off the map, but the destructive, widespread force on that much floodwater is hard to fathom. Rural towns and urban regions, including the fourth largest city in America, looked like tidal pools from the air, with rooftops peeking through an endless sea of brown. The only escape was to higher ground, of which there simply wasn’t enough.
The statistics are staggering, with more than 40 lives lost as of Friday, nearly 90,000 homes damaged and property damage in the tens of billions.
It will take time, in Hurricane Katrina’s case almost a decade, to calculate the losses and rebuild homes and infrastructure. What is most shocking, however, is the sense of sudden loss so many must be feeling as they return to flooded out homes, surrounded by more of the same as far as the eye can see.
It was so uplifting to hear the tales of heroism as volunteers and people from higher ground, including Nebraska, fled to Texas hoping to help in any way possible. Chinook helicopters from Grand Island took cargo and supplies where needed, the Nebraska National Guard hit the ground running, and so many others showed up in force to lend a hand.
That created a logistical challenge in and of itself in a storm that carried on for so many days. Unlike the sudden, horrific blast of most natural disasters, Harvey kept pounding away, spreading more damage while making relief efforts that much more difficult.
We offer a prayer for our Southern friends, knowing it will take time, support and lots of money to rebuild their lives. May they see hope on their horizons very, very soon.
Kurt Johnson

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