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:
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