As tropical storm Harvey continues to take its toll on Texas, tech companies from around the nation are pitching in to help the rescue and relief efforts.
Both Amazon and Microsoft announced donation plans on Twitter to help the Red Cross deal with the storm. Amazon and Whole Foods together said they will match cash donations through Amazon to the Red Cross, up to $1 million. Microsoft said it is providing an “initial $100,000 grant” to the Red Cross, suggesting further donations to come.
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) August 28, 2017
— Jane Meseck (@JaneMeseck) August 28, 2017
And it’s not just Amazon and Microsoft pitching in. Facebook activated its “Safety Check” feature to allow users to notify their networks that they are safe as well as request and offer help. The feature functions as a virtual command center in some ways, with a description of the event, forecast, list of areas affected, ways that people can get involved in the relief efforts and a button to start a fundraiser.
Google’s Crisis Response team set up a Harvey-focused Google map detailing road closures, traffic incidents and shelter locations.
Apple added a button on the iTunes store to allow users to make Red Cross donations.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 27, 2017
The Starbucks Foundation donated $250,000 to relief efforts, and Starbucks customers can donate in-store, or through the Starbucks app.
Weather experts are calling Harvey, which was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm after it made landfall in Texas over the weekend, “unprecedented.” The storm is causing catastrophic flooding, dousing parts of Houston with more than 40 inches of rain with another 20 inches possible before the storm moves on, according to the National Weather Service.
— NWS (@NWS) August 27, 2017
Six people have died in the storm, with thousands more stranded due to flooding. With major highways and other infrastructure flooded, officials recommend residents to shelter in place.