My cousins live in Houston, and I know there is a lot of tragedy their right now, but their neighborhood was specifically chosen by the US Army Corps of Engineers to be sacrificed in order to protect the surrounding areas. They opened the Barker reservoir (which is adjacent to their neighborhood) purposely to alleviate the rising water in hopes that they could control the water flow into the Buffalo Bayou.
Early Monday morning my cousins were evacuated with the help of the coast guard from their single family one level home due to the dangerous rising water levels. Fearing their safety, they left quickly with nothing in hand just to get somewhere safe. All major roadways along and adjacent to their neighborhood and the reservoirs are now completely underwater and inaccessible. The Army Corps of engineers estimates a minimum of four weeks to several months before their neighborhood is no longer flooded and access to them can be granted. Meaning their entire livelihood will be sitting underwater, indefinitely. Basically they have to wait until the reservoir empties to even have the chance to get back to their neighborhood and what's left of it.
They are gainfully employed and insured but there is no indication any help is coming soon. Insurance won't be able to even get an estimate on repairs for months, and who knows when they will actually be able to get funds or how much it will cover.
You can read more about the release of the reservoirs here: www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/post-nation/wp/2017/08/28/houston-releases-water-from-two-dams-in-attempt-to-prevent-uncontrolled-overflow/
and here: https://www.google.com/amp/amp.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2017/08/28/what_happened_to_the_reservoirs_that_were_supposed_to_protect_downtown_houston.html
Parisa and Soheil immigrated to the US in 2012 for a better life and academic opportunities. Soheil worked hard in school, living minimally, and finally received his PhD just last year in Austin. During this time they had their son Neekon, and saved what little money they received during his summer work internships to buy their first home. Soheil accepted a position in Houston and moved his family there. They recently purchased their very first home, in a small Houston suburb, and couldn't have been more excited! (See the main photo from settlement day.) I know because I helped guide him through the process along the way.
Since arriving in 2012, they have been working hard and saving to be able to give Neekon a wonderful life in the US. And now, with the devastation of Harvey, they had to leave everything behind with no turning back.
They had just started feeling settled in their new home. Furnishing it, creating a warm space for their son to grow and their family from overseas to visit. Clothes, pictures, electronics, appliances, cars... nearly everything left behind for the water to take.
They have been told that it will be months before they can get back into their home to see what, if anything is left. Again, they're starting from zero.
It's not often I ask of help like this, but I just don't know what else I can do. They have no way to leave Houston at the moment, and even if they could what can they do? I have started this fund to at least help them get on their feet and know that the process to rebuild their lives can happen again. The money raised will help them find/afford temporary housing (while still paying their existing mortgage), get them to Virginia if needed, and really any cost that they're going to incur while they sort this whole mess.
If you can donate, thank you. If you can share their story, thank you. Thank you for your love, support and continued prayers. Those that know me, know they're my only family here in the states and they mean everything to me.
I appreciate all of you.
(Parisa's first cousin, and only family in the US)
Great Falls, Virginia
- Paul Usera
- Direct Impact Fund
- Siyavash Motealleh
- Rachel Royster
- Daniel Ebrom
Organizer and beneficiary
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