Legendary actor Leonardo DiCaprio has donated $1 million (£774,053) to a fund helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
United Way Worldwide president and CEO Brian Gallagher has praised the Shutter Islandstar for his contribution: “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Leonardo DiCaprio and his foundation. Responding to Hurricane Harvey requires the best of all of us – and that’s what this gift represents.
“United Way’s Harvey Recovery Fund will provide much-needed help for the communities along the Gulf Coast where lives have been changed forever.”
This isn’t the first time the Academy award winning actor’s organisation has helped others in past disasters, with money being directed to the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
DiCaprio also isn’t the only celebrity who has donated to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort. Sandra Bullock has also donated $1 million (£774,053) to help victims, while the Kardashian family offered $500,000 (£387,283) to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
Kevin Hart made an appeal for more celebrities to donate after he pledged $25,000 (£19,350) to the fund. In his video, Hart calls out The Rock, Steve Harvey, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Jerry Seinfeld and Beyoncé.
The former Destiny’s Child singer, from Houston, said: “I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help.”
Houston NFL player J. J. Watt has set up another fund on YouCaring, which has raised more than $9 million (£6.9 million). On the page he says: “We must come together and collectively help rebuild the aspects of our community members lives that were damaged or lost. Any donation that you can spare, no matter how large or small, is greatly appreciated. We will come out of this stronger than ever. We are Texans.”
The hurricane has since been downgraded to a tropical depression but is still wreaking havoc across Texas. Port Arthur’s mayor, Derrick Freeman, issued a dire message on Facebook overnight: “Our whole city is underwater right now but we are coming!”
Officials have reported at least 38 people have died from storm-related deaths. According to the New York Times, some of those include a police officer, a mother who was swept into a canal and a woman who was crushed by a falling tree.
There are tens of thousands of people residing in shelters across Texas, however some of those centres are starting to fill up. The National Guard has helped rescue more than 8,500 people and roughly 210,000 people have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance.
A curfew has been enacted in Houston to keep residents safe as well as help police crackdown on reports of looting. Under Texas law, the punishment for looting during a disaster is much higher. A person convicted of burglary could face anywhere between five years to life in prison compared to two to 20 years.
Sources: New York Times, Variety
Featured Image Credit: PA