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Florida Wildlife officers save hundreds trapped by Harvey floods, rescue continues

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Florida volunteers have reached out to Texas in its time of need.

The state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, including hundreds of volunteers from the Sunshine State, are continuing disaster response efforts in Texas, rescuing hundreds of people trapped by floodwater in the Houston area.

What was formally Hurricane Harvey — now downgraded to a tropical depression by the National Hurricane Center — has dumped an average of 40 to 50 inches of rainfall throughout much of southeast Texas in the past week, the Weather Channel reports.

The storm brought nine days of heavy rain in many parts of Texas starting Aug. 25 through Sept. 1. As the water begins to recede, rescue crews found 32 bodies, with many fearing a rising death toll.

Meteorologists have estimated Harvey dumped as much as 20 trillion gallons of water across Texas. A reported 30 percent of Harris County, which includes Houston — the nation’s fourth largest city — is under water. That’s an area of about 530 square miles.

According to the FWC, agency officers have rescued more than 500 Texans since arriving in the area after Gov. Rick Scott responded to Texas’ call for emergency aid. Nearly 125 FWC officers — with a fleet of 40 boats, 17 high water vehicles, two Mobile Command Centers, and eight shallow draft vessels — are actively involved in search and rescue and disaster response efforts.

Additionally, more than 400 Florida volunteers were deployed to Texas and Louisiana, part of Volunteer Florida, which continues to coordinate activities of 11 disaster relief organizations.

FWC officials say other volunteer efforts include:

— The Salvation Army has 43 volunteers who have served approximately 1,270 volunteer hours so far as well as an Incident Management Team (IMT) on-site in Texas.

— The Southern Baptist Convention will deploy more than 50 volunteers to Louisiana tomorrow and will be offering feeding, chain saw teams, roofing teams and portable showers.

— The American Red Cross has deployed 24 volunteers to Texas and 40 to Louisiana as well as 11 Emergency Response Vehicles.

— Feeding Florida is working with Feeding America to package, store and deliver food to Texas.

— Volunteer Florida is coordinating with local Pensacola business Two Men and a Truck on a nonperishable item drive. Two Men and a Truck is actively collecting donated items from the local community and has volunteered to use their own storage facility to host all donations until it is possible to make the trip to Texas. Drivers have also volunteered to use their trucks and time to make the trip.

— Volunteer Florida is also coordinating with national manufacturer Kellogg’s, which has donated 200 trucks of food items, to deploy food items to areas in need.

Volunteer organizations are asking those wishing to help to donate to a recognized, nonprofit organization operating in Texas. A list of agencies is available at

A slideshow of Florida’s rescue efforts in Texas:

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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