Hurricane Ike: If You Are Missing, Please Raise Your Hand

9/22/08: Live Streaming Video- Officials Appeal To Congress For Ike Relief Funds. And they are getting GRILLED. Too bad they’re in line behind our crumbling financial markets. Hopefully this stream will be available in it’s entirety. If it is, you’ll see it here.

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. “They’re still afraid they’re going to find bodies up here,” 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.

If you are looking for someone, this is a good place to start. Several ways to search are all in one place.

The KHOU forums are another place to search, find, and learn about just how hard the pot is beginning to boil.

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

Missing And Presumed Dead

Click Here For Snarkfood’s Extended Coverage Of Ike And The Aftermath