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UH Students Volunteer to Help with Area Relief

University of Houston students helping families to remove flood damaged materials out of their houses. In a selfie shot from left, Clinton Joel Noronha, Sree Sai Ram Narayana, Sarah Alexander, Lily Wu and Ryan Fung (taking the selfie) and back row from left, Alex Cardenas, Deepak Rao and Kangwook Noh.

University of Houston students helping families to remove flood damaged materials out of their houses. In a selfie shot from left, Clinton Joel Noronha, Sree Sai Ram Narayana, Sarah Alexander, Lily Wu and Ryan Fung (taking the selfie) and back row from left, Alex Cardenas, Deepak Rao and Kangwook Noh.

By Sree Sai Ram Narayana

HOUSTON: After the deluge that engulfed the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey last week, the international students at the University of Houston didn’t want to sit around and just witness the chaos. So they – among which were many Indian students – decided to spring into action and join forces with the others at the Bridges International group on campus and volunteer to help people who were flooded out across town.

According to their website, Bridges International “is a caring community of Christ-followers committed to serve, promote social connections and engage in spiritual conversations with international students so that students become leaders internationally.”  BI has a group at UH, UH Clear Lake and Rice University and sought out volunteers who study at UH to help the area people in need and this group of approximately 10 students came forward to assist.

On Wednesday, August 30, a family which lives in Meyerland contacted a staff member at BI asking for help in cleaning up after the floodwaters that had done considerable damage to their furniture and belongings. We responded by visiting the site and carrying out the heavily soaked heavy furniture such as sofa sets, dining table and mattresses to safer locations or laid them outside on the curbside to be disposed of. Some items such as drawers, television stands, jewelry sets and kitchen tools which could be reused again were cleaned and bleached. Everyone was well coordinated and used appropriate protective gear to complete the tasks. We brought cardboard boxes to keep all the bleached items so that they could be easily transported by the family.

Another family that lived in Friendswood was affected severely and we were there on Thursday, September 1 to help. They had a lot of heavy furniture that needed serious manpower to move them. Corrugated walls and sponge fillings in them had to be torn out and the floor had to be swept. There were 2-3 people involved in sweeping a fairly large area of floor which had a lot of accumulated mud that needed to be dealt with. Other volunteers used wheelbarrows/shovels to clear out the mud that had settled all over the house. We had to double bag the trash to keep all the heavy dirt material inside. We were just thrilled at being able to assist these families and they were just as happy with our commitment and hard work.

Other organizations which had UH student volunteers included the Graduate Indian Student Organization (GISO), SEWA International, Hindu Yuva and Houston Maratha Mandal. Like Bridges International, these organizations coordinated with the UH students and organized to help the Indian students who lived at Stratford House Apartments that were heavily flooded. Some of the students now have found temporary housing till their house gets refurbished. The president of UH system, Dr. Renu Khator, along with the Indian Consul General, Dr. Anupam Ray, came to assist the students and families distribute food, water and help locate temporary housing.

On campus, Bayou Oaks Apartments at UH was flooded with water reaching the first floor rooms. All the UH students who reside there were evacuated and sent to Bates Hall for safety. There were a few buildings on campus that were flooded, especially the ones that had basement levels. Currently these are closed and getting renovated.

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2 Responses to UH Students Volunteer to Help with Area Relief

  1. narayana September 8, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Well done, much appreciated

  2. narayana September 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Well done

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