YouTuber Rich Lux shows a neighbourhood in Texas devastated by flood waters.
Last week, Hurricane Harvey touched down in Texas, causing unprecedented amounts of catastrophic damage to the area and killing at least 38 people according to the New York Times. Entire sections of Houston, the United States' fourth largest city, are underwater. The storm has been chronicled on the news and social media. It's also shown up in the videos of YouTubers and Twitch streamers.
YouTubers and streamers are known for documenting the world around them, since that's what their jobs mostly entail. Several of them headed outside and showed the damage done to their neighbourhoods, while others told stories, some dire and some mundate, about how the hurricane impacted them.
Some have appealed for aid. Vixella, a Houston-based gamer known for her Sims and Minecraft videos, took to YouTube a few days ago and asked her viewers for help. While she hasn't been flooded, she said her mother and grandparents' homes were more than three feet underwater.
By Tuesday, the home of one YouTuber's relatives were under a few feet of water.
"We're definitely scared and sad, and feeling a little helpless," Vixella told her viewers. "We really didn't know what to do."
Vixella said she could not get to her relatives because the area outside of her neighbourhood is completely flooded. On Tuesday, she set up a GoFundMe for her relatives so that they could hopefully salvage items from their house and repair damages. She's raised nearly $US9,000 ($11,322).
"They definitely didn't deserve anything like this and seeing that, it just breaks my heart," Vixella said tearfully.
Others have applied their video editing chops with impressive quickness. The YouTuber, Cristopher Zamora, created and posted a documentary of the first few days of Hurricane Harvey. He did this on Monday, not long after his region was flooded.
In the video, you can see Zamora and his neighbours walking around in water that covers their ankles. When the storm came, Zamora said that he and his family hid in the bathroom of their home. The morning after the storm touched down, Zamora and his family drove around their neighbourhood to see how others were faring. Downfallen trees had smashed into houses.
"Everything here [in] this neighbourhood only happened for a minute or less guys," Zamora told his viewers.
Zamora was shocked by the damage done to his neighbourhood.
"When I was younger, Hurricane Ike wasn't like this at all," Zamora said. "Yes we had a power outage, but I didn't feel nothing like that before, guys."
Amouranth, a cosplay streamer and YouTuber whose recent clips have titles like "Get Sticky With MJ | Food Porn Episode 4" posted a dramatically different vlog about Hurricane Harvey. In the video, she drove around the area where she lived.
She told Kotaku that while she tried to go to the outlying area to see if she could help, most of the main roads surrounding her were severely flooded.
"The water on Highway 6 near where I lived was deceptively shallow looking/murky but if you try to drive through you realise that the water quickly reaches up to your headlights," she wrote to Kotaku in an email. As a result, her video doesn't show anything catastrophic. She runs around in the rain and lifts a turtle out of the road and onto an embankment.
Amouranth told Kotaku that she experienced very little flooding. "I remember hearing some heavy winds and having the power flicked out for just a second," she said, "and that was the extent of my Hurricane Harvey misadventure."
A picture sent to us by Amouranth. She says that this area is a couple of miles from her home.
Amouranth also owns a character entertainment company, and she said that her employees have fared far worse. She plans to donate "character visits" to a fundraiser to help with the cost of relief efforts in her area.
In his video, Lux visited several stores. He found that the Walmart was closed, and another store had a long line for entry. One store he visited had barren shelves, with most of the meat and dairy being gone. However, there were several cartons of water sitting in the aisles. Later, Lux stood in the middle of a freeway headed towards downtown Houston. The freeway was virtually deserted, save for a single truck that cruised by.
Huge YouTubers have also weighed in, giving us not just a look at how the hurricane has affected them but how a big-time YouTuber thumbnails a vlog about a natural disaster.
Bunny Meyer, who has eight million subscribers to her grav3yardgirl account, posted a half-hour video about her father falling while rushing back home with her during the storm. She said he had to be hospitalized out of concern over internal bleeding but that no damage was detected.
"This is one of the most terrifying things I've ever been through," Meyer told the 770,000 and counting people who've watched the video so far.
"I've just been trying to just lay down and like sleep through it because you just feel helpless like you can't get in or out," Meyer explained, visibly stressed. "There's nothing you can do."
While some are struggling to recover from the hurricane, other YouTubers and streamers are also trying to raise money for Hurricane Harvey survivors. Twitch streamer Splintershield, who is based in Houston, was one of the first to host a donation stream, and has five donation streams in total.
Several other Twitch communities, such as Twitch Texas, have also been raising funds.
The notorious YouTuber, Jake Paul, whose antics recently got him dropped by Disney, decided to travel to Houston to rescue individuals, which he announced on Twitter. Crowds of his fans showed up at a nearby Walmart to donate supplies to fill a couple of U-Hauls with supplies.
The scene was chaotic, as many fans were clamoring to snap photos of Paul and throw things in the U-Hauls. Paul also got a couple of jetskis, and he explained that he was using the jet skis to go in and rescue survivors.
"Jake Paulers" — fans of Jake Paul — showed up at Walmart in massive crowds to fill UHauls with supplies.
"I don't know what we're gonna see; I don't know what's gonna happen," Paul said in a YouTube video. "I'm scared but we're gonna do our best."
Yesterday, Paul tweeted, "DM us your address if you're stuck in your house in Houston." Team 10 has an official shirt you can buy, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Paul's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Paul is attempting to raise $US500,000 ($629,016). In two days, he's raised $US22,000 ($27,677).
YouTubers and Streamers have generated praise, criticism and some jealousy for the personal connections they make with their fans. With disasters like Harvey, they have a chance to put those connections to good use as clearly many have tried.
If you're interested in helping survivors of Hurricane Harvey, check the links below.
Twitch Charity has four separate fundraisers you can donate to.
Twitch Texas is trying to raise $US10,000 ($12,580) for Direct Relief on Tiltify.