Yerra’s global roots are widespread and although we are a Swiss company, those roots run deep in Houston. I’m one of the company executives and have lived in Houston all my life. I met our founder and several others on team Yerra when we all worked together at a Houston-based software company. If you follow Yerra on social media, you know that our team members in Houston are safe and thankfully our homes were not impacted by Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters. We are beyond grateful for this and have never understood the phrase “there but by the grace of God go I” more deeply.
To put Houston in perspective for people who aren’t familiar, the metro area is home to over 6 million people and is roughly 2/3 the geographical size of Switzerland. The stats are telling us that the sheets of torrential rain that fell on the city over three days totaled 9 TRILLION gallons. Today I was able to go out and offer a small amount of help at one of the many shelters that have opened by taking a hot breakfast. I was just a few yards from the fields where my son often plays baseball. What I saw in the neighborhoods in the area took my breath away. Shoulder-high water sitting in roads and homes, major highways look like lakes…and none of it is moving out. It is just sitting there and, in some cases, still rising as streams and rivers take on more water from upstream. My heart is broken for my city.
You have probably seen a lot of the images of destruction for yourself. But, hopefully you’ve also seen the countless examples of people helping each other, actively going out to supplement the official response (there simply aren’t enough “official” first responders to help all these people in this sprawling metropolis). People with boats going door to door, helping others salvage whatever they can and get out before it gets worse. Politicians of every stripe truly working together and cooperating to address problems. Regular citizens organizing shelters, food, clothing and supplies to help those in need. What is happening here is what should happen everywhere – and not just in times as dire as these.
Houston is resilient, caring and proactive. We are tough when we need to be and tender when we don’t have to be. We are practical problem solvers. This city’s spirit is hard to describe but easy to see. I’ve never been prouder to be a Houstonian and love that some of this spirit influences a company that I’m so proud to be a part of.
Early estimates are that homeowners in Houston face $30 Billion in damages. For those who are so inclined, there is a philanthropic fund setup by the city to accept donations. It will be an important source of relief for those who have lost everything.