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Evacuating During Hurricane Harvey With Two Young Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

We've all heard about the tragedy Hurricane Harvey has brought to Texas. Going through a natural disaster is terrifying when it is just you and your partner, much less having children to worry about. It's every parent's worst nightmare. As their caretakers, they count on us to stay calm, have all the answers and know how to keep everyone safe during stressful times.

Having to evacuate your home with small children and pets is something we can never really prepare for. It's alarming and scary—we're trying to remember all the important things as we quickly gather our belonging not really knowing what is going to happen to our yards, homes and future.

My dear friend, Holly Sevcik Loftin is from Houston, Texas. Her family had to evacuate her home on Friday and said there's supposed to be more rain coming, which is causing her and her family to stay away. "I honestly don't know when we can go back, since rivers are flooding major highways. No one seems to have any answers," she says.

Loftin said getting her 5-year-old and 10-month-old to Austin when she realized they had to evacuate was pretty horrifying, not to mention stressful, "We left Friday and went to Houston. The baby was sick with hand, foot and mouth. I couldn't risk not being able to get her medical care if it was necessary. Now we can't get back home," she says.

"Families were told not to call 911 because there was no way we could get to anyone. Instead were were told to get on the roof and write S-O-S instead."

Loftin and her family have been in a hotel and have been offered a discounted rate since they evacuated. "My anxiety has been pretty bad and my 5-year-old was afraid to stay at home."

People have been traveling down the streets in canoes rescuing people.

The family had to leave behind their two outdoor cats who couldn't be caught in time—a devastating loss for the family—but Loftin says her neighborhood has been amazing and have really pulled together during this time rescuing people, gathering supplies, checking in on each other and on the homes of people who have evacuated. According to Loftin, "People have been traveling down the streets in canoes, rescuing people."

Loftin and her family are hoping to go home soon, but she knows "it's not over yet. We are supposed to get hit again with more rain on Wednesday."

Despite all the hardships, she knows the family's decision to evacuate was the right one.

"It was stressful to leave my home but I’m glad we did," she says.

Thankfully, Loftin and her family are safe and don't have any major house damage yet. They're anxious to get home, sleep in their own beds, start to pick up the pieces and help others in their neighborhood any way that they can.

In the meantime, we will all be sending the hurricane victims love and light. We hope they all return home safely and this tragedy will be over soon.

If you would like to help Hurricane Harvey victims, you can donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, the Houston Flood Relief Fund, or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross.

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