Officials in Quebec offered to send some much-needed supplies and manpower to areas of Texas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, but a Texas state official had a counter offer — send prayers instead.
There are still huge areas of Texas underwater after Hurricane Harvey and the days of steady rain that followed, with the full destruction still coming into view. The storm has prompted a nation-wide response, with first responders traveling from across the country and hundreds of millions of dollars in aid being raised.
One offer for help came from north of the border, with Quebec’s Minister of International Relations Christine St-Pierre offering manpower and equipment. But Texas Secretary of State Roland Pablos said the state didn’t need the help, and asked only for “prayers from the people of Quebec,” Raw Story reported.
While some experts note that donations of things like blankets or food are often logistically difficult for disaster-stricken areas, Quebec’s offer included the help of an accomplished group of utility workers. As the CBC reported, St-Pierre was offering Texas the help of Hydro-Québec crews, which the report noted are part of a mutual assistance group that work on utilities in the region and have traditionally provided assistance to disasters outside the area.
“Our crews are well-equipped and they have good knowledge of the grid so they can help to restore and rebuild the distribution lines,” Hydro-Québec spokesperson Louis-Olivier Batty told the CBC.
The refusal sparked controversy, with many in the United States saying that Texas should not be turning down free offers of help. The clean-up and recovery efforts are expected to stretch on for several months, if not years, and many said that Texas could use any help they can get.
Others called on Pablos to explain his decision not to accept the help.
While many expressed shock that Texas officials would ask for prayers rather than the physical help from Quebec, St-Pierre did not appear to be offended. She noted that Texas and Quebec already have a strong trade relationship, especially within the aerospace industry, and that the offer was between friends.
“When you are friends, you call and you say, ‘Do you need help?’ and this is what it is,” she said.
Though officials from Texas preferred prayers from Quebec rather than more tangible help, the state has taken some help from south of the border. Despite an ongoing spat surrounding Donald Trump’s proposal to create a border wall, Mexico has sent boats, vehicles, supplies, and food to help the relief efforts across Texas, the Independent reported.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]