Houston Has a Post-Hurricane Science Problem: Here’s How You Can Help
Houston science is in trouble. The worst of the flooding and devastation hasn’t been fully felt and the rain continues to fall. The flooding is so bad that The National Weather Service had to make up new colors to represent the amount of rainfall that is filling Texas streets and labs.
The damage has already closed MD Anderson and Houston also houses Rice, University of Houston and nearby Baylor College of Medicine. All of these schools took a devastating hit in 2001 following Tropical Storm Allison with thousands of lost animals, years of work lost and millions of dollars in lab equipment that was damaged.
In 2010, Nashville was hit by a 500 year flood and my neighborhood was right in the thick of it. As a scientist, I speak from experience when I say, it will takes years for Houston to recover. Scientists in the middle of this won’t be in functional homes for months (at best) and conditions will be dangerous for weeks if not months. If you are in Houston, or have friends who are in a waterlogged house, you need to encourage these folks to move temporarily to somewhere with schools and a place where your family can regroup.
When the flood water recedes, the garbage will stack up as families rip their homes down to the studs, try to find contractors, settle with insurance and collect somewhere around $10,000 per house in FEMA disaster money.
As scientists and academics, we are not in careers where we can spend years getting professional lives back on track. So what can you do to help? The March for Science Houston is helping organize labs that can host displaced Houston science families. Word is spreading with labs offering to help on Twitter, but made a jump to a Google Doc searchable platform. Labs that can house or sponsor a scientist are filling up the spreadsheet attempting to match skills and resources with people in need. We’ll be sure to keep you updated, but we hope you will help us spread the word.
And Houston…you’ve got this. There are many big-hearted scientists out there and you’re about to make some life long friends.
Share your stories and needs on Edge for Scholars.
UPDATE 8/29/17 11 pm CST: The list of potential sponsoring labs is nearing 100 and many more will be needed. If you are interested in providing help, please firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, a contact email, the name and location of your university and your field of study.