9/16/08: Very important update: A reporter and his wife who formerly lived in Tyler were on Galveston Island during Ike. The media blackout is trying to be enforced by the mayor and other city officials, but rescue workers are telling people that the death count is far more than is being reported. They are going door to door, but are leaving bodies inside of structures for now, so they can focus on rescuing those who survived. Unlike Katrina, they aren’t spray-painting “X” on the houses where the dead are. Instead they are putting discreet stickers on the structures, making them harder to see by the already handcuffed media.
Click here to read the story in the Tyler Paper.
It’s time for celebrities to step up with other Americans and help the victims of Hurricane Ike, like they did for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The people need help, and charities desperately need funds. We’ve not heard of any benefits being organized. Hopefully that will change, and change quickly. Celebs have proven their abilities to quickly assist in raising funds for good causes- most recently the very successful “Stand Up For Cancer” that so many generously helped with.
Residents Now Refugees
Rescuers flew to areas of the coast previously unreachable because of destruction wrought by Hurricane Ike. 37,000+ people are now in shelters across Texas, and conditions are going from bad to worse for those housed in Houston, especially at the George R. Brown Convention center. Cots are in short supply. Food and ice are in short supply. Because so much of Houston is without power, it’s become extremely challenging to care for the people who now are basically refugees. And there will be more refugees.
Galveston officials are attempting to evacuate the survivors who are still on the island. An estimated 20,000 people stayed in Galveston through the storm. It is not known how many perished. Some feel that authorities are keeping information on victims close to the vest. In some forums, people speaking off the record say that many bodies have been found in the afflicted areas. Of course, this is impossible to verify at this time. Officials are greatly restricting the media, with fairly good success. Galveston’s city manager says officials are “limiting the information released to the media”. The press has been asked to move to the Hilton so they are NOT with officials.
In Galveston, they are cutting off the gas, because of the risk of fire. There is no power, no running water, very little food. The Mayor of Galveston said to residents: “You cannot live in Galveston at this time.” Galveston is apparently bringing in a cruise ship to help house those who have lost it all, and have nowhere to go. Galveston is a small part of the total area of destruction. Much of the coast has been flattened, and rescuers are just now reaching parts of it. The area of devastation is as wide as Ike was, and Ike is looking more and more like Katrina.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt did great work in New Orleans, and continue humanitarian help around the world, but let’s face it. They have their hands full. Now would be a great time for other celebrities to step up and flex some muscle. There’s no need to wait for a huge body count.
Galveston’s West End Devastated- CNN IReport