Ocean City Today

OC prepares to send help to Texas

While waiting for word from MEMA, mayor asks locals to donate to organizations
By Katie Tabeling | Sep 07, 2017
Courtesy of: Matt Odachowski A partially submerged vehicle was found outside of Houston, Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Matt Odachowski of Royal Plus staged his disaster recovery business hours outside of the city to aid in the cleanup efforts.

(Sept. 8, 2017) Ocean City stands ready to assist with recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey, as Emergency Services Director Joseph Theobald said he’s waiting for an official request from Texas.

“In general terms, the request for assistance is made state to state, and we haven’t received a formal request yet,” Theobald said Tuesday. “We work closely with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to coordinate assistance and where to deploy assets where it’s most needed.”

Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast last week with roughly 49.32 inches of rain, leaving Houston and other towns under water. The five-day storm left roughly a quarter of a million people without power and about 67 people dead.

The last time Ocean City sent rescue crews and emergency personnel to assist with storm recovery was 2005 when Hurricane Katrina decimated Louisiana, Theobald said.

“What we did then is helped out with public works – water and wastewater issues, getting hospitals up and running again,” he said. “[Harvey’s] led to catastrophic destruction, possibly worse than Katrina, so I expect Ocean City to get the call. Getting the infrastructure set up again … is going to take a long time.”

Council Secretary Mary Knight said the council had been informed via email that Theobald was preparing to send crews as needed last Wednesday.

“There’s a logical procession, through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management) and MEMA, but when the time comes we’ll be ready to send qualified people,” Knight said. “Flying the Texas flag [during the Aug. 29 work session] was not a shallow action.”

In the meantime, Mayor Rick Meehan has endorsed donating to Houston-based charities to provide financial aid to Harvey victims and those working on the front lines.

“It’s completely unimaginable to see the widespread devastation in Texas,” Meehan said in a press release last week. “Despite the horrible things that happen in the world, Ocean City is a community that comes together in tragedy. In the wake of such sadness and despair, we hope to offer some positive support to the people of Texas.”

Ocean City officials ask residents who wish to donate to consider supporting the Houston Salvation Army and the Houston SPCA.

For more charity suggestions, visit www.nvoad.org/hurricane-harvey/hurricane-harvey or www.charitynavigator.org

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