Hurricane Harvey is doing its worst to swamp the parts of Texas. Not only has the Houston area already suffered massive flooding with some reports of floodwaters 10 metres higher than normal levels. Some areas have recorded over 60 centimetres of rain already and are expected to receive the same again over the next day or so1.
The National Weather Service has stated that the effects of Harvey are unprecedented and are beyond anything ever experienced. The service has issued repeated flash-flood warnings. Over 20 helicopters are rescuing stranded people from cars and rooftops. Highways are closed, the two airports are closed, and large areas of the city are under water1.. In some suburbs the floodwaters have reached the eaves of single story houses2. So far it has been confirmed that 9 people have been killed, but it is expected the toll will rise when the waters eventually recede.
Emergency shelters are being swamped by the number of people needing accommodation and other services1. Charities have swung into action, with the Red Cross (Campbell Education Center), as well as the George Brown Convention Center being used as evacuation centres. In addition, all of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston’s 20 centres are all open.
Joel Osteen is a televangelist who runs the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. This is what is termed, in the US, a megachurch, and it is like an entertainment centre and seats almost 17,000 people. He and his wife and two children also live in a massive mansion estimated to be worth at least $10 million. From the megachurch, his televised sermons are watched by about 7 million people weekly. Osteen initially refused to open his megachurch to be used as an evacuation centre, saying it was too flooded to be used as such. Instead, he told his flock to help, and said he was praying for the people of Houston. Praying is an excellent way of avoiding any inconvenience. However, online, his church was shown not to be flooded and he received such opprobrium that he was forced to open the doors of the church to accept evacuees3. Christian charity doesn’t extend to letting your fellow man track mud onto your carpets.
What was that about camels and eyes of needles?