SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
Update: Sadly, it has been confirmed that one elderly sister died as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
NEW YORK—Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the coastal city of Rockport, Texas, as a Category 4 storm on Friday, August 25, 2017. By Sunday, the hurricane had been downgraded to a tropical storm but continued to devastate southeast Texas through Wednesday, August 30. The branch office in the United States has received initial assessments of how the storm system has impacted our brothers and sisters.
Approximately 84,000 Witnesses live in the areas impacted by Harvey. No deaths are reported among our brothers and sisters, although nine were injured and five have been hospitalized. A total of 5,566 Witnesses have been displaced from their homes. The storm caused major damage to 475 homes of our brothers; an additional 1,182 of their homes sustained minor damage.
Local disaster relief efforts are being coordinated with the assistance of circuit overseers in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. Hundreds of brothers in these cities have made rooms in their homes available to displaced Witnesses from Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast. Others have donated nearly 300 tons of food, water, and supplies to those in need.—Proverbs 3:27; Hebrews 13:1, 2.
Circuit overseers report that all congregations are reestablishing their spiritual routines. Members of the United States Branch Committee are planning to visit the affected areas to provide comfort and support.
“Our hearts go out to all those suffering due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, and we are thankful for all who volunteered to help in the wake of this disaster,” states David A. Semonian, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “We especially keep our brothers and sisters who are affected by this storm in our prayers. We also urge them to keep trusting in Jehovah’s loving arm of support.”—Psalm 55:8, 22; Isaiah 33:2; 40:11.
David A. Semonian, Office of Public Information, +1-845-524-3000