I've never been in this situation before, but I don't want to drop the ball when so much is at stake. Thanks to the friends who have insisted that I start an account to help with growing expenses. The truth is the support would be very helpful. Below are excerpts I had when a friend asked me what was happening on the ground.
"...I had intended to just get dim sum yesterday for lunch. But after passing through 2 floods and a barricade, I realized that all routes south of I10 were now blocked off. In the vicinity of the floods, there were stranded vehicles with occupants requiring help. Nobody at the time had boats on hand, so I inflated my inflatable tubes and helped guide people out of the water. I continued helping people for an hour and a half until police pulled me over and told me to evacuate since the water levels were getting too dangerous. At this time the water was about 5-6 feet deep where I was. This morning, a friend on Facebook was desperately asking for help, so I told them I was coming.
I drove as close to the floodwaters as I could, then I walked/swam the rest of the way (roughly a mile), carrying water bottles and rations on my back, while holding/wearing the inner tubes. I made it into the apartment complex and was able to reach the people in question. The water in this area was 8 feet deep in some places, forcing the trucks to stay back. The survivors were very afraid and required some negotiation and convincing before they agreed to be rescued. From there, we swam them (on the tubes) back to the trucks, who drove us back to my car. Police and Army were on site assisting people in houses that have already been completely submerged (10-12 ft). But they are shorthanded and need civilian aid.
There are thousands of homes under water and hundreds of people in immediate danger.
I've been passing out water and supplies and we've housed some survivors while we sorted out where they would go next."
My name is Justin Tam from Tomball, Texas.
We are determined to continue assisting people in any way we can, but supplies and resources are quickly being depleted. Together, we can help those on the ground in these critical first few days post Hurricane Harvey.
These funds will be used for securing basic supplies like food and water for the survivors, as well as putting people in temporary shelters/motels, and gas for transportation, etc. Any funds left after the immediate disaster will be used to support families displaced by the hurricane in the weeks to come. We are primarily reaching out to survivors in Northwest Houston.
This photo is with RJ on Monday around 12:30pm as we left their apartment complex. He's 7, in 2nd grade, and was supposed to start school today. He was scared, but like a hero, he overcame his fear and escaped the storm on an inner tube.
In the photo, we are passing through the middle of their apartment complex. I am holding a bag of spare clothes and water sealed phones and cash in my left hand, and the inner tube in my right. I was walking on the central island between apartment buildings where the water was about 3 feet deep. Once we were off the island, the water came up to our chest around 5 feet deep. We had to clamber over a broken fence to get out. Once out of the complex, the water was 8 feet deep and we had to swim to the main road where the water was still 4 feet deep. (These are loose measurements based on my own height, 6'4") In the picture we are heading to the main road where we will eventually walk/swim out of the floodzone and eventually make it to my car/safety. We were able to get 7 people out of the flood this way. About 9 others with cats and dogs followed us out with their own rafts/tubes/airbeds. Not freaking kidding. Airbeds.
These people escaped with only the shirts off their backs. There are many more people, pets trapped like their family was. Let's help get them all out.