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The Dragon Spirit

The Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

What will it cost the economy? How will it affect the world?

A flooded ranchhouse.

The Texas Tribune

A flooded ranchhouse.

Trey Kelly, Head Editor

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While Texas is often categorized as a state full of deserts and excessive heat, one of its largest cities became the site of the first major tropical storm to make landfall since 2005: Hurricane Harvey. Registering as a Category 4 hurricane upon hitting Houston two weeks ago, Harvey left the city flooded with over 33 trillion gallons of water, destroying several businesses and homes. This massive rainfall displaced 30,000 Houstonians, left quarter of Texas’s population is without power, and, currently, has lead to the deaths of 70 residents. Even outside of the city, Harvey’s effects can still be felt; multiple southern states have reported tornado watches, heavy rains, and power outages in major cities. Worse still is how this single tropical storm will affect communities, the economy, and even the entire world years after its conclusion.

As mentioned prior, Harvey has displaced 30,000 Houstonians, most of which have either evacuated, are awaiting rescue, or are inside one of the multiple shelters located throughout the city. The possibility of quickly returning to a normal routine unfortunately remains unlikely for those affected. Recent estimates suggest Hurricane Harvey alone dealt upwards of twenty-three billion dollars of property damage to both public and private buildings in two counties; adding to this, over 100,000 buildings, 40,000 of which are homes, have been affected in some way by Harvey. Thankfully, however, two organizations are attempting to resolve these issues: the Houston Coalition for the Homeless and the Texas chapter of SPCA [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals]. Both provide relocation advice and currently accept donations through their websites; keep in mind that the SPCA’s advice is mainly oriented towards pet owners. Other much smaller efforts have also been launched nationwide, providing anyone the opportunity to assist.

Another area greatly affected by the storm is the economy and the industries built in and around Houston’s city limits. Economists estimate that Harvey will be one of the most expensive storms in recorded history, costing the economy above $160 billion due to damages. Because of the shutdown of multiple Texan oil refineries, the price of gas per gallon has risen a mere six cents since Harvey made landfall; this number seems small initially, but since most larger cars can carry fourteen gallons of gas, the price in total has changed from $32.05 to $33.60 in the past week alone. It could take several months for these refineries to be rebuilt and reopened and with Hurricane Irma on the horizon, gas prices will potentially see a dramatic increase. Furthermore, the total cost of reparations to areas affected by Harvey could cost up to $180 billion after adding all of the damaged property, scrapped cars, deaths, and other financial factors. Needless to say it will take some time for the city to rebuild.

Overall, Hurricane Harvey was one of the worst storms in recent history. It left tens of thousands without homes and powers, lead to the deaths of 70 innocent people, and will have a lasting impact on the economy and the world at large. Unfortunately, another tropical storm is slowly headed towards Florida: Hurricane Irma. The chronological proximity of both of these storms could have an undesirable effect on the United States as industries collapse, people are killed, and life changes drastically for those affected. Multiple relief efforts have spawned following Harvey and most are accepting donations. Otherwise, please do anything you can to help those affected. Thank you for reading the Dragon Spirit and stay tuned to major news outlets for any further developments.

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The Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey