Hurricane Harvey, one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the region in recent memory, has left behind a path of destruction throughout Texas.
- Published On September 8, 2017
August will be a month that will be etched in the memories of many Americans for years to come for both good and not-so-good reasons. The month of August saw the first total solar eclipse for many decades, which was a marvellous sight seen across the entire continent. For Texas, however, August will be a month residents will wish to forget after the state was hit by Hurricane Harvey, which is the deadliest hurricane in years. In addition to the 69 fatalities reported in the state, about 30,000 people were left without homes.
Property Damage Estimated to Be in the Billions
Hurricane Harvey has not only caused a humanitarian crisis in Texas but also an enormous economic crisis. The storm led to a widespread destruction of property which is estimated to be worth billions of dollars. Reports from Market Watch show that the hurricane caused jobless claims to increase from 62,000 to 298,000. Major businesses in the state closed shop after a state of emergency was declared in the hardest hit counties.
Travel Industry Hit Hard
One of the hardest hit and least reported sectors of the state’s economy was travel which incurred billions of dollars in losses. According to the Travel Weekly, the travel industry injects as much as $35.2 billion into the state’s economy annually, a figure only surpassed by Texas’ energy industry. The sector was left on its knees in the aftermath of the hurricane with the effects having a ripple effect across a broad spectrum ranging from the normal car rentals to cruise ships. Interestingly, most of the effects experienced in the transport sector emanate from those encountered in the state’s energy sector. Immediately after the storm hit, the entire state experienced an acute fuel shortage after numerous oil refineries were temporarily shut down. The fuel shortage caused gas prices to skyrocket, and this had a detrimental effect on the transport sector.
The fuel shortage also hit the cruise ship industry as the fuel needed by the ships, and crude oil became scarce after the oil refineries shut down. Cruise ships had to avoid the storm altogether and as a result had to cancel several cruises to the state including the Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas.
Operations in two major airports in the state, the William P. Hobby Airport and the George Bush International Airport, were also temporarily halted due to the harsh conditions caused by the storm. About 800 flights were grounded, further aggravating the nightmare experienced in the travel industry.
Benjamin Elisha Sawe is a writer based in Kenya. He holds an MBA from the University of Nairobi.