An Indian American couple in Houston, Texas, Amit Bhandari and Arpita Brahmbhatt Bhandari, have donated $250,000 to Mayor Sylvester Turner for the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a Hurricane Harvey relief fund, at a privately held event on Sept. 24.
Bhandari is the owner and CEO of the BioUrja Group, an energy and agricultural commodity trading company based out of Houston with offices around the world.
The Indian-American community has united in raising funds for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, the storm that brought 40 to 64.58 inches of rain over a four-day period and killed over 70 people, displacing more than 30,000 people and prompting more than 17,000 rescues.
Turner appreciated the Indian-Americans for their generosity and voluntary aid toward Hurricane Harvey relief. “
The contributions of the Indian-American community did not just start with Hurricane Harvey. They have been contributing to this city for a long, long time. The Indian community is vital to the city and helps make Houston the great city that it is,” he said.
“I want to thank the Indian-Americans for what you have done prior to Hurricane Harvey. I want to thank you for what you are doing now, and I want thank you for what you will be doing to help rebuild this great city. We will rebuild, we will be stronger, more resilient, and better prepared for next time around,” he added.
Bhandari mentioned that volunteers from the community helped rescue 700 people and that the community in Houston also contributed $1.5 million to many charitable organizations associated with the Hurricane Harvey relief.
A newly developed mobile app titled ‘DisasterConnect,’ was also presented to Turner at the event.
The app help victims and donors make direct contact with each other to streamline relief efforts and was created under the direction of Gaurav Khandelwal, CEO of ChaiOne, a Houston-based developer of mobile apps.
The Consul General of India in Houston, Dr. Anupam Ray also thanked the Indian-American community for their efforts.
“Your generosity makes India proud. A community is great if it rises above its suffering. Through your contributions toward Hurricane Harvey relief, you’ve demonstrated that as a community, you’ve risen above your sufferings.” he said.