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As Hurricane Harvey approached the shores over coastal Texas on Thursday, August 24, 2017, Edinburg and Rio Grande Valley were alarmed over the possibility that it could strike close to home. Instead, deep South Texas was spared from what became one of the most powerful hurricanes in history – a category 4 storm thaton Friday night, August 25, 2017 packed wind gusts up to 132 miles per hour northeast of Corpus Christi, and which has caused billions of dollars in damages and human suffering from flooding in the Houston region in the following days. 

Photograph By NASA

Local officials and organizations are pulling together resources as part of a national effort to help the countless Texans hurt by Hurricane Harvey, which on Friday, August 25, 2017 slammed into the Texas Coastal Bend, anchored by Corpus Christi, threatened metropolitan areas of San Antonio and Austin, and has produced epic flooding in the Houston region, including the displacing of thousands of homeowners, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. “We wish all those (affected by Hurricane Harvey) well, and we ask that you put them in your prayers, because God knows they need it,” Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, said Monday, August 28, 2017, during the Edinburg EDC Facebook live broadcast, “Edinburg Connects”. In response to the humanitarian disaster that has taken place elsewhere in Texas, the City of Edinburg, the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which has its main campus and its School of Medicine in Edinburg, have announced their respective assistance plans, which began on Monday, August 28, 2017 and will continue through the upcoming weekend and beyond. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García are not related.

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Edinburg EDC: City, school district, UTRGV begin efforts to help with disaster relief for countless Texans hurt by Hurricane Harvey

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Local officials and organizations are pulling together resources as part of a national effort to help the countless Texans hurt by Hurricane Harvey, which on Friday, August 25, 2017 slammed into the Texas Coastal Bend, anchored by Corpus Christi, threatened metropolitan areas of San Antonio and Austin, and has produced epic flooding in the Houston region, including the displacing of thousands of homeowners, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

“We wish all those (affected by Hurricane Harvey) well, and we ask that you put them in your prayers, because God knows they need it,” Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, said Monday, August 28, 2017, during the Edinburg EDC Facebook live broadcast, “Edinburg Connects”.

The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García are not related.

The onslaught by Hurricane Harvey, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but still remains dangerous, will continue into the week, according to the Washington Post.

“Harvey is forecast to remain parked over Southeast Texas through at least Tuesday (August 29, 2017), pummeling the region with more rain bandsThe National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center is calling for an additional 15 to 25 inches of rain over the middle and upper Texas coast, including the Houston area, during the next several days. The National Hurricane Center said isolated storm rainfall totals could reach 50 inches, which would rival some of the most extreme rain events in U.S. history and break the state rainfall record in Texas,” theWashington Post further reported.

Harvey became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005 and the strongest in terms of wind speed to hit the country since Charley in 2004. It was the first hurricane to strike Texas since Ike in 2008,[25] the first major hurricane in the state since Bret in 1999, and the strongest in Texas since Carla in 1961, according to Wikipedia.

A category 4 hurricane, Harvey, with top wind gusts reaching 132 miles per hour on Friday, August 25, 2017, hammered Port Aransas, a city on Mustang Island, located about 40 miles east of Corpus Christi. Rockport, another coastal town located about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, sustained tremendous damages from wind and storm surge.

“Catastrophic flooding in the Houston metropolitan area is expected to worsen,” the National Weather Service said Sunday, August 27, 2017. It added: “This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced.”

Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley were spared the barrage of Hurricane Harvey, and as millions of viewers nationwide were tuned into news video of the hurricane as it approached andthen hit the Texas coast, they saw the Valley was the only coastal region of the state not touched by the monster storm.

As Hurricane Harvey approached the shores over coastal Texas on Thursday, August 24, 2017, Edinburg and Rio Grande Valley were alarmed over the possibility that it could strike close to home. Instead, deep South Texas was spared from what became one of the most powerful hurricanes in history – a category 4 storm that has caused billions of dollars in property damages and extensive human suffering from flooding in the Houston region. 

In response to the humanitarian disaster that has taken place elsewhere in the state, the City of Edinburg, the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which has its main campus and its School of Medicine in Edinburg, have announced their respective disaster relief plans.

The City of Edinburg in coordination with the Food Bank RGV is collecting donations for the victims in Corpus Christi and Victoria, according to the City of Edinburg’s Public Information Office.

From Tuesday, August 29, 2017 to Sunday, September 3, 2017, Edinburg residents and visitors are encouraged to drop off the specified items listed below at the Edinburg Activity Center located at 123 E. Palm Drive.

Items needed include:

• Bottled water (Non-flavored, non-carbonated)
• Peanut Butter
• Jelly
• Easy Open Tuna/Potted Meat/Vienna Sausages
• Easy Open Fruit Cans/Cups
• Powdered Milk
• Cereal
• Bleach (1 gallon)
• Paper Towels
• Toilet Paper

All donations must be in plastic or aluminum containers. Glass containers will not be accepted.

The City of Edinburg will accept donations between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. To donate people are asked to access the Activity Center via Closner Boulevard and follow the donation signs.  City of Edinburg employees and volunteers will be on hand to take the donations directly from donors’ vehicles thus avoiding the need to park and get off.

Monetary donations will not be accepted by the city. Those wanting to donate money can visit the Food Bank’s website at http://www.foodbankrgv.com, the American Red Cross’ website athttp://www.redcross.org or call 1-800-435-7669, the Salvation Army’s website at http://www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800-725-2769 or visit the South Texas Chapter at 1600 N. 23rd Street in McAllen, and the Catholic Charities USA website http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org or call 1-800-919-9338.

Meanwhile, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) and its Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Monday, August 28, 2017, a partnership with the Food Bank RGV and H-E-B to collect supplies to be distributed in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The Food Bank RGV is encouraging the donation of:

• Bottled Water
• Peanut Butter
• Easy Open Tuna
• Potted Meat
• Vienna Sausages
• Paper Towels
• Toilet Paper

In Edinburg, UTRGV Athletics will accept donations at their upcoming scheduled home UTRGV men’s and women’s soccer matches on Thursday, August 31, through Sunday, September 3, 2017.

Fans donating at least five individual non-perishable food items at the UTRGV Athletics main office will receive a voucher good for free admission to any of the UTRGV men’s and women’s soccer home matches scheduled for Thursday through Sunday.

Fans donating at least five non-perishable food items at the UTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex on match day will receive free admission to that night’s matches.

Current UTRGV students, who already receive free admission, will receive Orange Out for Hunger Action Month T-shirts when donating at the matches, while supplies last.

All fans are encouraged to wear orange throughout the weekend to show support for disaster relief efforts.

Thursday – Women’s Soccer
Lamar vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 4 p.m.
UTRGV vs. Stetson, 7 p.m.

Friday – Men’s Soccer
Houston Baptist vs. Omaha, 4 p.m.
UTRGV vs. St. Bonaventure, 7 p.m.

Saturday – Women’s Soccer
Stetson vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 4 p.m.
UTRGV vs. Lamar, 7 p.m.

Sunday – Men’s Soccer
Houston Baptist vs. St. Bonaventure, 4 p.m.
UTRGV vs. Omaha, 7 p.m.

Also on Monday, August 28, 2017, the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District announced that it is partnering with the American Red Cross of South Texas to deliver disaster relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“We will be gathering donations this week to help the Red Cross provide water, food and other supplies to those affected by the hurricane,” ECISD Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez said. “Anyone from our community, wishing to join the relief efforts, can drop off items at any District campus or on Friday (September 1, 2017) at the Richard R. Flores Stadium.”

Items being collected, include bottled water, canned foods, diapers, toiletries, and first aid kits. Monetary donations will also be accepted and presented to the American Red Cross – South Texas Chapter.

Edinburg CISD will be gathering all of the donated items from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, September 1, 2017 at the Richard R. Flores Stadium, located at 1800 S. Stadium Dr. in Edinburg.

The donated items will be delivered on Saturday, September 2, 2017 to the American Red Cross office in Harlingen.

Also upstate, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday, August 28, 2017 announced he has activated the entire Texas National Guard in response to Hurricane Harvey, bringing the total number of deployed guardsman to roughly 12,000. These National Guardsman will assist in the ongoing search and rescue effort for any Texans in immediate danger, and will be heavily involved in the extensive recovery effort in the aftermath of the storm.

“It is imperative that we do everything possible to protect the lives and safety of people across the state of Texas as we continue to face the aftermath of this storm,” said Abbott. “The Texas National Guard is working closely with FEMA and federal troops to respond urgently to the growing needs of Texans who have fallen victim to Hurricane Harvey, and the activation of the entire Guard will assist in the efforts already underway. I would like to thank FEMA Administrator Brock Long, as well as all our brave first responders for their hard work in helping those impacted by this terrible storm.”

“While this is still a dangerous situation with a long response effort ahead, the state and people of Texas are resilient,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. “FEMA was here before the storm hit, and we will be here as long as needed, actively coordinating the full resources of the federal government, to support Gov. Abbott and the state.”

“The men and women of the Texas National Guard are working around the clock to support all relief efforts from Hurricane Harvey,” said Maj. Gen.  John F. Nichols, Texas Adjutant General. “We will not rest until we have made every effort to rescue all those in harm’s way. We will remain here as long as we are needed. I want to thank Governor Abbott for his continued leadership and look forward to serving the great people of Texas.”

The Texas Guard currently has approximately 3,000 personnel activated and mobilized for operations relating to Hurricane Harvey rescue and recovery. This new mobilization by Abbott send those who are physically able, not currently deployed, preparing to deploy or in a combat preparation cycle to answer the call for help and assist their fellow Texans in need. All Texas Military Department personnel should report to their respective units for further instructions.

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Marci Caltabiano, Romeo Cantú, Irma Garza, and Jonah Golberg contributed to this report. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook

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