By Sarah Weldon
August 28, 2017 at 12:17 PM EDT
Credit: Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle/AP

Since making landfall on the east coast of Texas last week, Hurricane Harvey has quickly become one of the most destructive natural disasters in recent memory. Heavy winds, continuous rain, flooding, and intense property destruction have affected the residents of Houston and the Gulf Coast, spreading all the way to San Antonio. Harvey, which first hit land as a Category 4 hurricane though has since downgraded to a Tropical Storm, is expected to continue to affect the area until mid-week before turning back towards the Gulf. The storm has already brought more than 23 inches of rain to the Houston metropolitan area, with more coming.

Credit: Eric Gay/AP Photo

“We are not out of the woods yet,” declared acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke at a morning briefing in Washington. “Harvey is still a dangerous and historic storm.”

According to FEMA, Harvey is forcing more than 30,000 people towards shelters and about 450,000 citizens will require assistance. But as of Monday morning, that number will likely rise. The official death toll remains unclear, but the storm has already been blamed for at least five fatalities. FEMA chief Brock Long told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he expects the organization will be in Houston and the surrounding areas for years to come.

The destruction is shocking for those both in and out of the area — though many are stepping up to provide assistance. On Sunday night, comedian Kevin Hart pledged to donate $25,000 to the American Red Cross in an Instagram video where he challenged other comedians and celebs to do the same. During the MTV Video Music Awards, host Katy Perry also urged those watching to donate. Other celebs have made similar overtures on social media.

Here’s how you can do your part to help the people of Texas if you are not in or near the immediate area:

The American Red Cross is accepting donations online and by texting HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Or, you can donate through iTunes.

Portlight is providing assistance to those with disabilities. You can help by contacting the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies Hurricane Harvey Disability Hotline at (800) 626-4959.

Driscoll Children’s Hospital is taking in evacuated children from the NICU in hospitals throughout the Houston area and is accepting donations.

Austin Pets Alive, an Austin shelter, has been transporting as many shelter animals as possible out of affected areas. You can help by adopting, volunteering, and donating items to care for the displaced animals.

All Hands is a non-profit that has staff on the ground in Texas and is in direct contact with emergency officials.

Houston Humane Society is also helping to care for and shelter pets in the area, though it receives no funding from the city. You can donate here.

Airbnb is asking for people who can donate their homes for free to those evacuating the area and whose homes have been destroyed. They are also waiving all service fees for those in need.

Texas Diaper Bankis providing diapers and other essentials for young children and infants — diapers are not traditionally provided in emergency shelters. You can provide a cash donation here if you’re not able to donate diapers.

Save the Children is directly helping displaced children and families on the ground in the area and is asking for donations to help on-site workers.

Food Banks in the area are doing all that they can, and The Houston Press has compiled a list of those that need donations and volunteers.

If you are in the area and are in need of assistance, please contact 911 for immediate medical attention. If you are not in need of immediate medical attention, please contact these Coast Guard hotlines:

  • 281-464-4851
  • 281-464-4852
  • 281-464-4853
  • 281-464-4854
  • 282-464-4855