The damage caused by Hurricane Harvey paints a bleak picture. The number of confirmed deaths continues to rise. Thousands of people and hundreds of pets have been displaced from their homes. Nearly 50,000 houses have been destroyed in southeastern Texas.

But in the midst of the catastrophe, we found hope in the goodness of people who are willing to risk their lives to save others. The determination and efforts of rescuers and volunteers to assist the victims, help aid injured people, and fulfil their duty of serving the community became the much needed beacon of hope for all the families of those suffering from Harvey.

Recently, we are moved by an image of a successful rescue. In the photo, SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Catherine Pham and her 13-month old son Aiden to save them from the floods. They say that a picture paints a thousand words, and this viral photo shows us the unbreakable spirit of Houston in the midst of a devastating tragedy.

Story behind the photo

Before the photo of the Hurricane Harvey rescue effort, Cathy, Troy her husband, Aidan their baby and their 73-year-old neighbour were trapped in a loft bed as Hurricane Harvey devastated the city. In seven years of living there, it’s their first time to see and experience chest deep flood waters. The family’s home was also damaged by the floods.

They were waiting for daylight for them to evacuate, but by that point, the flood just kept rising. It was unsafe to move even by truck. Troy decided to call for help as it became impossible for them to evacuate all by themselves. As they heard helicopters and voices, Troy and his family felt hope.

Troy found the members of Houston SWAT team and volunteer civilian. The six rescuers used their motorised boat to help the family get out from their home.

During the rescue, little Aidan fell asleep nestled in his mother’s arms as Officer Daryl carried them to the safe location of Interstate 610.

Troy narrated that despite the strong winds and the commotion around, Aidan felt comfortable and even slept soundly. The Pham family was not able to get the contact information of Officer Huddeck and the whole team to say thank you and repay them for rescuing their family. The rescue happened so fast, as the rescuer carried them, asked Cathy her son’s name and age and then was off to help more people.

The family is now safe. They are rescued by the kindness of the first responders and volunteers. They said that words are not enough to express their gratitude to the rescuers and volunteers who saved their lives.

Rising above adversities

Unrest is spreading across the world as natural disasters continue to rise. This frightening reality underscores the need for all in both the private and public sector to plan on how to ensure people’s safety and protection in the face of emergencies. Because these incidents can happen at any given point, evacuation preparedness must be a top priority now more than ever.

We live in a dangerous world, where the truth paints a bleak picture. There are threats and risks no matter where you are. But contrary to popular belief, the ones who survive and rise above adversities and emergencies are not necessarily the strongest. The people who make it through are those who planned for the unexpected.

There is no better time than now to promote safety and evacuation preparedness. You have the ability and power to influence your family, your organisation and your community to act on safety.

Image source: Source: @louisdeluca/ Instagram


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