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Kevin Hart, Beyoncé and Drake lead charge for Hurricane Harvey flood relief

 (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

As Harvey lashed southeastern Texas over the weekend, celebrities rallied for the relief effort.

Comedian Kevin Hart led the charge Sunday night, donating $25,000 and challenging his celebrity friends to donate to the Red Cross amid catastrophic flooding in the Lone Star State. 

"I think we've participated in a lot of challenges on the Internet, some meaningful, some meaningless, but we've all done them. I've been a person that's partaken in several of them," Hart said in an Instagram video.

"At this point, this is a serious matter," he continued. "I think the people are in bad shape and they need help. I'm going to lead the charge and step up in this way."

The "Jumanji" star called on his co-star Dwayne Johnson, comics Steve Harvey, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as musicians Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake to make donations and tag someone else to do the same. 

At that point, Houston native Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child had already posted notes about their hometown on Instagram, sending thoughts and prayers to the state that launched their careers.

The deluge of support continued with country star Chris Young. "The Man I Want to Be" singer posted an emotional YouTube video about his certainty that his Texas home was destroyed and concern for his friends and family in the state. He donated $100,000 to relief efforts to a GoFundMe campaign to benefit the Red Cross.

Harvey, one of the worst natural disasters in the state's history, slammed onshore Friday as a Category 4 hurricane, then weakened to a tropical storm on Saturday, dropping up to 24 inches of rain on Houston in 24 hours.

The National Weather Service reported that at least five people had died as of Sunday evening, but that number was expected to increase as the floodwaters recede. More than 30,000 people across the Gulf Coast are likely to seek temporary shelter as the tropical storm continues to drench southeastern Texas and Louisiana with heavy rains and surging floodwaters, The Times reported.

Toronto native Drake, who has lived in Houston for the last eight years, said that he and DJ Future the Prince are working with local relief groups "to aid and assist the people of Texas in anyway we can and in the most immediate way possible."

"I also want to thank all the men and women of service and volunteers for their courageous efforts to help people in need," the rapper said on Instagram. "I encourage everyone to do what they can to assist the people of Texas knowing whatever effort you can make to help will go a long way."

Also, during the MTV Video Music Awards Awards on Sunday, host Katy Perry touched upon the catastrophic event. She too urged viewers to donate to the Red Cross.

"All of us here at the VMAs are sending love to the people of southeastern Texas and everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey right now," Perry said onstage. "We're praying for your safety in the days to come and we stand with you as you rebuild because we're all in this together."

According to the Houston Chronicle, more than 15 inches of rain could fall on several more southeastern Texas cities. Corpus Christi, where Harvey first made landfall, saw upward of 20 inches of rain in two days. By Monday morning, up to 40 inches of rain had fallen on northeast Houston. Another 20 inches were expected Monday before Tropical Storm Harvey travels farther east. 

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