As Hurricane Harvey, a Category 1 hurricane that displaced thousands and caused millions of dollars in damages in southeast Texas continues to make its way up the coast toward the Texas-Louisiana border, Houston native Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is stepping up to help the victims already affected by the wake of destruction.
In a statement obtained by the Houston Chronicle, Beyoncé, CHIME FOR CHANGE co-founder, said that her charity, BeyGOOD, along with local Houston pastor Rudy Rasmus, was going to “implement a plan to help as many as we can.”
“My heart goes out to my hometown, Houston, and I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help," Beyoncé said.
She also posted an image on Instagram, holding the Texas flag and offering prayers to the people of Houston. The post has garnered over 1 million likes on Instagram.
The singer is not the only celebrity to offer help to the estimated 30,000 people affected by Hurricane Harvey.
On Sunday night, comedian and actor Kevin Hart announced that he had donated $25,000 to the Red Cross, and challenged fellow celebrities to do the same.
“I'm challenging a lot of my celebrity friends to follow my lead in donating $25,000 to Hurricane Harvey,” Hart said in an Instagram video. “I challenge The Rock, Steve Harvey, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, JAY-Z, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Jerry Seinfeld, and I think when you do it you all should tag somebody else.”
Several other major celebrities have also helped out.
Country singer Chris Young donated $100,000 to the victims of the natural disaster through a GoFundMe for the Red Cross. Rapper Drake chimed in from London, where he’s currently on tour, saying that he had teamed up with DJ Future the Prince to “aid and assist the people of Texas in anyway we can.” And Lady Antebellum, a country rock trio, contributed all merchandise sales — totalling $44,000 — from their recent Dallas show to victims.
The flooding from Hurricane Harvey has affected 50 counties in the state of Texas, and 4,000 national guard troops have been sent to the state to assist with rescue operations, Al Jazeera reports.
Natural disasters like Harvey, which has been called “unprecedented” and a “once in a million year event,” could become more common and more destructive in a warming global climate, some researchers have said.
“This is the type of event, in terms of the extreme rainfall, that we would expect to see more of in a warming climate,” Dr. Friederike Otto, an Oxford professor, told BBC News.
The Global Goals for Sustainable Development enshrine climate action as one of 17 requisites for eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. Global Citizen campaigns for a healthy, sustainable planet. You can take action here.
For her part, Beyoncé is playing a critical role in addressing the immediate crisis facing her hometown.
But as Harvey, and its predecessor — Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2006 — show, it will take more than celebrity responses to combat natural disasters of this size.