Devastation Caused by Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut

By, Crystal Y. ’20

As we prepared to head back to school in early September, residents in North and South Carolina prepared instead for a Category 2 storm with winds reaching 140 miles per hour: Hurricane Florence. The storm, which began its descent toward North Carolina on September 13, is one of the most devastating storms that the area has faced in decades. Approximately 33 people have died as a result, and many residents have been left without power, shelter, or both. In North Carolina, the flooding released a pond of toxic substances upon the citizens, leading to widespread damage (The New York Times). Currently, it is estimated that Hurricane Florence caused between 38 and 50 billion dollars in damages (Fox Business).

However, the Carolinas aren’t the only place that have been ravaged by a natural disaster. Farther from home, Typhoon Mangkhut cut its way through the Philippines, Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong before breezing into mainland China with winds reaching 170 miles per hour. Meteorologists have called it this year’s “most powerful storm” for good reason—the typhoon has been labelled as a Category 5 storm (The Wall Street Journal). According to an unofficial police count, at least 66 people in the Philippines have died as a result. That number is expected to grow as the storm relief effort continues. The storm, while weakening in destructive power as it passed through China, still claimed the lives of six residents and left scores of damaged buildings and landslides in its wake. The storm is estimated to have affected 5.7 million people and caused upwards of 70 billion dollars in damages (Bloomberg), making it this year’s most expensive storm as well.

Around this same time last year, Hurricane Maria tore its way through the Caribbean, leaving behind extensive destruction and devastation most notably in Puerto Rico. As a community, Winsor discussed some ways to support the storm victims, and eventually Collect decided upon an a capella fundraising concert. The concert was a resounding success: the night was filled with music and laughter, and helped raise approximately $1540 for Puerto Rico.

However, despite the devastating damage that Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut have caused, both of which have been covered extensively by the news, there has yet to be a similar event this year.

“I didn’t go to the relief concert last year, but I thought it was a really cool idea,” Athena B. ’20 remarks. “I definitely think we should do something similar this year to help everyone affected by the storms. I know that there’s a limit on the amount of fundraisers we can do in a year, but I think that this is a really important cause.”

When asked about a potential fundraising event regarding Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut, Avery B. ’20, treasurer of Collect, said, “We really want to have another concert fundraiser this year because it was so successful last year! We got lots of great responses—everyone had a lot of fun, and we raised lots of money for Puerto Rico. We haven’t decided on the details yet [for this year]. We know we want to have another concert, but it may be for a cause other than hurricane relief.”

For those wondering how to help victims of these two tropical storms, the Center for International Disaster Information states that donating money to organizations dedicated to the cause is almost always the most effective way to help. 

Those wishing to help victims in the Carolinas can use a website created by Michael Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets and grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina; his website helps direct donors to reputable organizations. 

Those looking to help people affected by Typhoon Mangkhut can donate to the Philippine Red Cross or CARE, a humanitarian agency that has helped the Philippines recover from numerous tropical storms since 1949.