As Hurricane Harvey gathered in the Gulf of Mexico the warnings of a massive storm hitting Texas were clear. But no one knew just how much damage the days of record-setting rain would bring. It will be weeks before the full extent of the damage will be understood, but we already know this is like nothing we’ve ever seen.

Our hearts go out to the millions of people impacted by Harvey. The pictures only begin to tell the story of the massive flooding, the homes destroyed, the wide-spread suffering, and the lives lost. From Houston to Rockport, from Beaumont to Galveston, from cities to rural areas in Texas and Louisiana, the storm has been unrelenting as the lives of tens of thousands of people have been upended.

As terrible as the news is, we are afraid the situation will get even worse. Oil refineries and chemical plants throughout Southeast Texas spew toxins into the most vulnerable communities and the storm is only aggravating this situation. Once the rain stops and flood levels recede, clean-up and rebuilding efforts will get underway. In the aftermath of Katrina and Sandy we saw post-storm rebuilding efforts skewed with resources moving more slowly into under-resourced communities. We cannot let that happen again.

Harvey reminds us that climate change is real, and already impacting the lives of people around the world. This same week a devastating monsoon struck Mumbai and the record-breaking monsoon season in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh has caused over 1,200 deaths this summer.

It will take years for Texas and Louisiana to recover from the damage, and there are no estimates yet of how much money will be needed. What we do know is that we all, regardless of where we live, must work to ensure that the federal government makes the financial resources available without delay and for as long needed.

Instead of funding the outrageous border wall, Congress needs to pour in resources for the long term rebuilding of the region. The rebuilding efforts must be lead by communities who understand their needs and the best ways to use those resources.

The Peoples Climate Movement is committed to building a nationwide movement strong enough to change the priorities of this country. A first step must be a united call for the federal government to give the Gulf region the resources it will so desperately need in the weeks, months and years ahead.

We stand with the people impacted by Harvey, and we hope you join us in contributing what you can….

Paul, and the whole team at the Peoples Climate Movement

Resources for helping in recovery efforts

American Red Cross

Habitat for Humanity

Catholic Charities

A Just Harvey Recovery Fund a joint project of almost 20 groups based in the Houston area that includes TEJAS, LatinaTransTexas, National Black United Front Houston Chapter and Fe y Justicia Workers Center.