Searchers and dog teams will begin looking for victims in the Hurricane Ike storm debris in Galveston and Chambers County, for the FIRST organized search and recovery. Why this is just NOW being done is very puzzling. Click here for video on the search.
The search will begin in Galveston today, and then move to Chambers County over the weekend. Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia has been asking for help from the governor’s office since DAY ONE. He says he’s confused by the delay, and that some of the missing from Galveston Island may have been blown across Galveston Bay into Chambers County.
“I don’t have a clue why it is taking so long. You know, it really should be Galveston County pushing because those are Galveston County folks that would be up here in my county.”
Currently, there are at least 400 people still missing, according to local Houston media. This is an approximate number, as there are so many different places that families are looking, registering and posting their names…that it’s difficult to get an accurate count. From what Snarkfood has been able to determine, 400 is probably a conservative number.
The residents of Galveston were allowed to come back to the island last week; the residents whose homes were behind the seawall were allowed to stay, those whose homes (or what was left of their homes) were on the hardest-hit West end of the island, must go away every night, and return during the day. Many, many people have had to throw EVERYTHING away from their homes. Every single solitary thing. Here’s a video from a resident who returned to Galveston last week:
UPDATE: 9/28/08 Over 400 people are still missing from the Texas Coast nearly two weeks after the storm devastated much of the area. The mainstream media has forgotten them. Their families, desperate, have not. Here’s an update video.
Snarkfood promised to continue to follow the story– and today we are listing the names of the people we’ve been able to determine are missing. These names come directly from those who are desperately searching for them. It is by NO means a complete list.
The mainstream media’s refusal to even report a ballpark number of those who are missing is shameful, and high-visibility (celebrity) attention to the problem is ZERO. In defense of the celebrities, they, along with the rest of America are not being told the story.
So we will. Here are the names of some of our American brothers and sisters who’ve been missing since Hurricane Ike hit. The following have been listed as missing or otherwise unaccounted for by their family members on the ABC 13 (Houston area) Hurricane Ike Missing Persons Locater, and the KHOU forums. Screw the media blackout.
Including Port Bolivar, Crystal Beach, Caplen, Gilchrist, High Island
Alex (no last name given)
Anderson, Bobby (survived, but friend perished)
Bagwell, Blaine and mother Ginger
Billy the Kid (across from Sharkey’s)
Brad (no last name given)
Brookshire, Delores Rose
Carol (Crystal Canals Bait Camp)
Carol (Tuna St.)
Cecil and Tommy (High Island)
Cheryl (the nurse)
Cloud, Michael Cook, Lee: 10/3/08: Lee and Sandy contacted us today at Snarkfood, and want to let everyone know they evacuated from Crystal Beach, and are okay and safe. Great news!
Dud (at Decoux’s)
Ettenger, Gail: Sadly, Gail Ettenger was found deceased.
Floyd (Garza’s Grocery)
Garrett, Charles Allen
Glen (Red): deceased- pre- Hurricane Ike
Gloria (Cottage by the Sea)
Jock, Jessica and family
Kahla, Mary and family
Knight, Beverly and husband
Lee, Robert and Gail and Gina
Lisa (18th and Galveston)
Marcia (message therapist)
Moore, Steve and family
Moseley, Herman- 10/3/08: Sadly, Gilchrist resident Herman “PeeWee” Thomas Mosley was found deceased today in the waters off the Bolivar Peninsula.
Nguyen, Father (St. Theresa’s)
Pilsner, E.A. and family
Ron and wife Dorothy (Melody Lane)
Steve (friend of David Pickett)
Stines, Kahla and family and friends
Tiki Man Kevin
Tom and Daniela (no last name given)
Tovar, Mario and family
Vidrine, Carol and family
Vidrine, PJ and family
Walker, Greg: 10/5/08- Sadly, Port Neches resident Greg Walker was found deceased by Texas Equusearch volunteers.
Wanda (Crystal Canal RV Park)
Ward, Terri and family
Werner, Donna and Lauren
Will (on Yuca)
Williams, Shane: Sadly, Shane Williams is deceased
Wisenbaker, Mikey and family
Wisenbaker, Mycol and
Galveston County / Galveston Island
Banks, Leon Jr.
Berryman, Thelma- She lived at 40th & Ave R in Galveston
Boyd, Keith and family
Bustamante, Richard and family
Chapman, Danielle (Dani) and sons Joel and Addison- Sea Isle, house had Texas flag painted on garage
Cole, Natalie and daughters
Ferguson, Mae Joyce
Grace (aunt of Lynn Robinson)
Heinrich, Paul and family
Manago, Shawna and kids
Melasome, Willie Mae
Moore, Ray Jr.
Ruiz, Ernan and children
Schultz, Susan (not her, but her aunt)
Stewart, Thelma and friends Tina and Peanut
Thomas, Kenneth (deceased)
So is this how it’s gonna be? A completely fractured population desperately searching for their missing loved ones? The 211 reporting system for the area devastated by Hurricane Ike is completely swamped. If by some miracle you get through, they take the name of the missing and any other info you have. Then you wait for a phone call. Not many phones are ringing. Officials are warning that many may have just been swept out to sea. Jim Gidring, Public Information Officer for Galveston, can only say “there will be more.” Is there a ballpark number? Nope. The systems have been slapped together and are completely in chaos.
Some call the Red Cross, or 1-866-898-5723, an organization originally set up to find missing children but is now taking info on Ike missing. There are 2 people answering the phone. Many searchers have resorted to postings on local forum boards, where there are small victories…but a lot of silence. The good folks are trying to help each other, their neighbors and friends. They post their phone numbers, street and email addresses. They are looking for children, parents, special needs people, aunts, uncles, cousins, the elderly, friends and neighbors. They don’t give a shit about spammers, who will have a special place in hell if they take advantage of these desperate people.
This grassroots help is all that many of them have. In San Leon, devastated by Ike, about 65 percent of the town of 4,200 stayed during the storm, but many are still missing. The town didn’t have ANY outside help until yesterday (9/18), and couldn’t even contact Galveston County officials. The honorary mayor had to make his way up to officials on Wednesday just to speak to someone.
9/22/08: To find loved ones call 1-866-GET INFO
The storm brought winds of more than 110 mph and a storm surge that reached 15 feet in areas including the Bolivar Peninsula and Rollover Pass, Texas General Land Office Director Eddie Fisher said to The Facts. The peninsula saw the worst of the storm and has the worst damage. What’s really scary? 40 percent of building permits issued over the past few years along the 327 miles of Texas Gulf Coast were approved for development in Bolivar, Fisher said. That is by far the most of any area along the Texas Gulf Coast, he said.
Fisher said officials have not been able to get inside most of the homes on foot because of the conditions. â€œTheyâ€™re still afraid theyâ€™re going to find bodies up here,â€ he said
Snarkista spent about 1 1/2 hrs. today on a message board that opened 2 days ago. She counted approximately 700 missing people. Just a small picture of the missing-count that no one will talk about, save in the most general of ways. “Swept out to sea. We may never know.” Lan Lamphere speaks of the possibility the number may reach 5000.
Hurricane Ike wasn’t a Category 2 hurricane. It was a Cat 4 tsunami. Before you pass judgment on those who didn’t evacuate, you need to know that in many areas, like the Bolivar Peninsula, the enormous storm-surge came in 24 hours BEFORE the hurricane. Many people were trapped. The FAA’s “No-Fly” decree over the area has frustrated and angered thousands. Snarkista thinks the time has come for some civilian boat rides.
9/21/08: Bolivar Residents DO Take A Boat In, And Have A Lot Of Questions
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.
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
The image above was taken Sunday, and shows a lone house in Gilchrist, Texas, on the Bolivar Peninsula. The Peninsula was on the “dirty side” of hurricane Ike. This area of coastal Texas has been devastated because of Hurricane Ike. Flyover Video Of Gilchrist and Bolivar
The title of this article doesn’t describe it well anymore. I know this is now a long and messy post. I apologize for that, but this is a messy story. This post began with an aerial video of Galveston after Hurricane Ike that people were desperately wanting. Since then, the article has taken on a life of it’s own. I hope it will continue to be a helpful one. It has been linked all over the world, so I am not going to change it’s URL; I will just continue to add to it. There are so many updates, videos, images and links here, and this is the post where I will continue to follow the tragic story of Hurricane Ike, the frustration of the media, the search for the missing, and those directly impacted by the current lack of official information, FEMA and officials. This is not a regional story. It is an American story.
9/20/08: Mail Service: Residents from Gilchrist, Port Bolivar/Crystal Beach, High Island, Sabine Pass and Wallisville are being served through alternate delivery at the Winnie, TX, Post Office (77655). The Winnie Post Office is located at 324 Highway 124 Winnie, TX 77665
Beginning Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 6:00 a.m. all residents will be able to re-enter Galveston Island. You must show photo identification that verifies your Galveston address or place of business at all manned checkpoints. The City of Galveston will distribute advisories as returning residents and business owners enter the island.
Areas Located Behind the Seawall East of 103rd Street/Cove View Lane: All residents and business owners may re-enter the City of Galveston, assess the damage to their property, and determine if they wish to remain in the city. Very limited water, sewer, natural gas, and electric services have been restored to areas behind the Seawall. Areas Not Located Behind the Seawall West of 103rd Street/Cove View Lane: All west end residents/businesses may re-enter the City of Galveston, assess the damage to their property, gather important belongings, and then leave the city to return to safe and more secure locations no later than 6:00 p.m. Water, sewer, natural gas, and electric services have not been restored to areas West of Seawall therefore sanitary living conditions are not available at this time.
9/20/08: Residents of the harder-hit Bolivar Peninsula will start seeing their homes next week, albeit for only a quick peek. And because the main road is impassible in many spots, residents will be loaded into dump trucks and other heavy vehicles for their tour. In Beaumont, near the Louisiana line, authorities lifted a mandatory evacuation order Saturday that had been in effect since Sept. 11, clearing residents to return to the city of 110,000 for the first time in more than a week.
9/20/08: Mandatory Evacuation Orders Rescinded Beginning Today For Beaumont, Port Arthur and Jefferson County.
Within minutes of each other on Friday afternoon, Port Arthur Mayor Deloris Prince, Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames and Jefferson County Judge Ron Walker each announced that the Mandatory Evacuation orders in effect for their respective jurisdictions would be lifted, effective at 6 a.m. on Saturday, 9-20-08. The curfews remain in effect, but Jefferson County shortened the hours of their curfew to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Port Arthur slightly modified their curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., while the Beaumont curfew remained at 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and all three jurisdictions emphasized their curfews would be strictly enforced. Surrounded by city officials, Mayor Ames said that with at least half of Beaumont without power, it is â€œtoo darkâ€ to maintain public safety without the curfew. More info here at The Examiner.
“Not only has FEMA not responded to San Leon, they have given out locations where supplies are available that are fictitious. Of four “POD” distribution locations FEMA gave out over KTRH radio (9-17), one of them does not exist. Two other locations had no FEMA supplies and had no clue that they had been designated. The 4th was there but had no supplies to give out. The FEMA “POD” in Seabrook refused to let people from San Leon in. Our residents are being turned away there. It is tragic enough that our lives have been destroyed by a horrific storm. It further injures us that communities like Tomball are getting assistance and we are not. It is even worse when FEMA’s publicity people give out phony information to inflate their numbers and waste what little fuel we have sending us to places that are not distributing assistance. I realize that to many government officials, this is a “political event”. To us it is a matter of survival. If you don’t help us, we will do it ourselves. But please don’t lie to us, and don’t make things worse..”
9/20/08: GuidryNews.com has been contracted to be the official online newspoint for Galveston & Coastal Texas official announcements, re-entry news, aftermath progress, utility updates etc.Guidrynews.com
9/17/08: Firsthand account of hundreds of bodies seen in trees in Galveston. This from an oilfield executive who was allowed to check on the rigs, and therefore had to fly over Galveston. Many were seen is marshes, ditches. People who have access to the island are now being patted town by officials to ensure no camera footage would be shot and get into the media.
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 for the Tyler Paper story and interview.
UPDATE 9/15/08: NEW NOAA Satellite Imagery Up: These are High-Res images, you will see a map of the state of Texas first, click on the area you want to see, and go from there. West end of Galveston available. Be patient, as these are high-res images that you can navigate. http://ngs.woc.noaa.gov/ike/IKE0000.HTM