Venezuela and Mexico Are Giving Aid to Hurricane Harvey Victims
Borders don’t keep out kindness.
When Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas last weekend, organizations on the ground were already preparing for what they knew could be a gargantuan clean-up effort. The storm dumped trillions of gallons of water on Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, displacing over 30,000 and killing at least 31.
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Aid has transcended borders, as well. In the days since the storm, two Latin American countries, Mexico and Venezuela, have both offered financial and emergency assistance to the victims of the hurricane.
Mexico extended its hand to the US on Sunday, Reuters reports.
“I just spoke to [Texas Governor Greg Abbott],” Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso wrote in a tweet. “We will provide all the help we can. Our full solidarity with the people of Texas.”
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accepted Mexico’s offer, saying: “It was very generous of Mexico to offer their help at a very, very challenging time for our citizens back in Texas and now moving toward the border with Louisiana as we’re watching.”
“We are here to help. We are friends. We are neighbors. We are friends, and that’s what friends do,” Videgaray responded.
According to officials, the Mexican government is “prepared [to offer Texas] a Katrina-like assistance package,” the Dallas News reports.
In 2005, Mexico sent 200 troops and 45 military vehicles to New Orleans, ultimately donating 184,000 tons of supplies and 170,000 prepared meals, according to Snopes.
The Mexican Red Cross has also independently offered on-the-ground assistance in Houston, sending 33 English-speaking volunteers to distribute food and work in temporary shelters at least until mid-September.
Venezuela, for its part, offered a donation of $5 million through Citgo, a state-owned oil company.
The country, currently mired in a years-long political and economic crisis, will “provide the aid to affected families through local mayors and allot a percentage of gasoline revenue to the construction of homes and shelters in and around Houston,” according to Bloomberg.
Scientists have argued that climate change could exacerbate natural disasters like hurricanes and tropical storms, making clean-up efforts more arduous and costly.