Harvey stirs painful memories for Katrina survivors

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Like injured veterans avoiding a war movie, Victoria Olsen and Dale Bellard will not turn on the news coverage of Hurricane Harvey.

"It's like PTSD," Olsen told ABC11. "Rationally in my head, I'm calm, but the feelings just rip you."

Olsen and Bellard lived together for 10 years in Long Beach, Miss., a small town just 55 miles east of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina wiped out their home when it made landfall on August 29, 2005, forcing them to relocate. Olsen chose Durham because her daughter attended the University of North Carolina.

"We were here in just a few days," Olsen explained, "But it took three to four years before we felt settled."

Bellard, who grew up in the Mississippi Bayou, said he's always thinking about the next storm.

"People really need help," Bellard said. "Most people don't have (flood) insurance in Houston today. I'll bet 85% to 90% of people don't have insurance. It's going to be really tough."

Instead of monetary donations, Olsen and Bellard are encouraging Triangle residents to offer help to hurricane victims in Texas in other ways, including donating tools.

"They're out of electricity, so generators are a huge need," Bellard said. "They need saws to chop up all the trees and limbs that block roads and homes."

Olsen added that personal letters could also provide more meaningful inspiration to those staying in shelters.
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