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Volunteer Army


On August 25, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southern Texas. The Category 4 tropical cyclone caused widespread flooding in the greater Houston area, killing at least seventy people and driving 30,000 from their homes. On September 3, photographer Balazs Gardi followed an armed group of local volunteers as they delivered supplies to flood victims in the rural towns of Vidor and Mauriceville. Photographs © Balazs Gardi, whose work can be seen in the October issue of Harper’s Magazine.


Billy Conn, Candace DeBarge, and Timothy Conn ride in a cargo-truck bed to deliver aid to flood victims in Vidor.


Ed Ortiz walks out from his flooded motor home in Vidor to collect bottled water delivered by the volunteers.


Flooded yard in Vidor.


Micheal Merchant, or “Merch,” drives the cargo truck in Mauriceville.


Billy Conn uses a stick to measure the depth of the flood water while Merchant scrutinizes the surrounding area via the telescope on his rifle near Mauriceville.


Candance DeBarge’s daughter Cayleigh rides in a truck bed in Mauriceville.