Selena Gomez broke down in tears on Tuesday night's (September 12) Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief telethon, during which she recounted the dire fates of family members of the late Selena Quintanilla, who perished during the storm.

The Saldivar family tried to escape Hurricane Harvey's wrath in August when their van was swept away by relentless, rising floodwaters. Gomez, who was raised about 250 miles away from the family's home in Texas, said the news hit her like a ton of bricks. Still, from tragedy, came hope, she said.

“August 27, seven members of the Saldivar family tried to escape the rising flood waters. Their van is swept into the bayou, only Sammy Saldivar manages to survive," she said in the clip above as she got choked up. "Their story affected all who heard it and, no matter who we are, the differences we have suddenly did not seem to matter. Since that day, we have joined together. Neighbor helping neighbor without stopping to think about race, religion, or anything else.”

Nearly 50,000 homes were damaged by the storm and 60 people were killed in the United States. Upwards of 200,000 homes are still without power and nearly 800,000 were forced to evacuate.

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