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Houston: A crisis familiar to so many in the region

Thousands have lost their homes and are seeking shelter in Houston, as rains continue in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S., had received some four feet of rainfall as of Tuesday morning.

Only a few can truly empathize with the people of southeast Texas. Longtime residents of the Red River Valley certainly can, and the people who lived through the Flood of 1997 in Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and nearby communities must be watching the news each night with heavy hearts as they recall their own disaster 20 years ago.

There are many eerie similarities.

Tuesday, a mandatory evacuation order came for the town of Dickinson — a suburb of Houston — and residents there were told not to return. The same happened on both sides of the Red River in 1997.

TV news highlights show people being rescued from their homes via motorboats. So many received similar aid here in the Grand Cities.

Thousands of homes have water up to the roof. Infrastructure is shredded. Long lines of people are waiting for food and clean water. Shelters are packed to capacity. Outlying communities are opening their arms to refugees.

All of this happened in the Red River Valley in 1997.

And for now, hope probably seems lost for those desperate thousands who are still waiting for the maddening rains to end.

Houston is in for a long road to recovery. It's a path that will include initial fear, sorrow and shock. Along the way, we will see highlights of heroism and unity. It eventually will curve toward frustration and anger. And far out there on the horizon — unseeable today as rains continue and floodwaters rise — the road eventually will end with recovery and a resumption of normalcy.

It's a road that was traveled by so many residents here in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota when the Flood of 1997 was a national news event.

But if the hardy residents here know anything, they probably know that eventually, things will be OK. It will take time and a herculean humanitarian effort.

Will residents from the far North consider a small donation to the Red Cross to help the wet, frustrated masses in the far South? We hope so.

Tuesday morning, the Herald made a donation to Houston flood victims via the website redcross.org. The website allows donations as large as donors choose, and as small as $10.

It was an easy process and literally only took about three minutes. We hope others will consider doing the same as Texans struggle to overcome a crisis that is painfully familiar to so many in North Dakota and Minnesota.

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