My heart goes out to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. It’s heartwarming to see neighbors helping each other and the ongoing relief efforts.
But as I was watching the news, I experienced a bit of deja vu, and remembered some research I came across. 117 years ago, on Sept 8th, a category 4 hurricane known as The Great Storm hit Galveston, Texas. At the time, Galveston had no system in place to warn residents of the storm. With winds gusting up to 145 mph, it is considered one the deadliest hurricanes in US history, with a death toll of 8,000 (possibly up to 12,000) lives.
A female reporter from San Francisco by the name of Winfred Bonfils (Annie Laurie) disguised herself as a boy and infiltrated the barricaded disaster zone. She was the first reporter on the front line, and her exclusive story prompted William Randolph Hearst to send relief supplies by train.
Relief poured in from all over the country as the clean up and rebuilding began. During the week after the hurricane, telegraph and water service was restored, and lines for a new telephone system were being laid by the second. Humans are, if nothing else, resilient.
I couldn’t help but think that the warning systems and disaster relief organizations that are in place today are a direct result of hard lessons from the past.
You can watch a video of the Great Storm aftermath here.
And although we may not live nearby, here’s how to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.