A viral photo of elderly patients sitting in waist-deep flood waters at a nursing home in Dickinson, Texas, went viral Sunday, prompting the authorities concerned to airlift them to safety.
The patients on wheelchairs in the La Bella Vita nursing home could be seen clutching their belongings after Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston over the weekend. The owner of the nursing home, Trudy Lampson, sent the picture to her daughter Kim and son-in-law Timothy McIntosh in Florida, according to New York Daily News. Timothy later posted the picture on Twitter, urging people to retweet the post and spread the word. Another picture published by New York Daily News showed water level rising in a corner of the room.
However, some people on the social-networking site said the photo was fake because the people appeared too calm. One woman was also seen knitting in the picture.
Timothy responded to those calling the picture fake in a tweet. Later, KTRK News reported Ken Clark with the Galveston Office of Emergency Services confirmed the authenticity of the image.
Timothy asked authorities for help through Twitter as the picture went viral. The post was retweeted more than three thousand at the time of publishing this article. “Need help asap emergency services please,” he wrote.
Timothy’s pleas for help were answered as Galveston County Office of Emergency Management confirmed that 18 residents of the home were airlifted to safety, according to Galveston County Daily News.
“RESCUED!! Thank you to the National Guard & the Galveston City Emergency crew for our rescue,” Timothy wrote on Twitter after the rescue operation was conducted.
Dickinson’s emergency management coordinator David Popoff also confirmed: “These people have been evacuated.”
On Saturday, Trudy was asked not to vacate the nursing home as the facility had never flooded before, New York Daily News reported. Her daughter Kim said: “It’s never even flooded past the sidewalk. No one asked her to evacuate, but she has evacuation plans to leave.”
Many posts emerged on social media of flood victims who were desperate for help.
According to the latest estimate, officials assisted in over 500 rescues overnight, USA Today reported.
While search and rescue operations are underway, there are several other ways for ordinary citizens to offer help. Texans can volunteer to help evacuees at designated recreation centers by registering online through the City of Dallas by clicking here. Supplies can be dropped off at a donation center operated by a local non-profit group Trusted World at 15660 North Dallas Parkway (north of Arapaho Road), Dallas, from 3 to 8 p.m. through Sept. 1.