Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Ike's Devastation To Be Felt For Months
GALVESTON, Texas — Emergency crews on Monday reached some of the beach towns most devastated by Hurricane Ike, which left a giant disaster zone spread from the Gulf Coast to the upper Midwest.
Three days after Ike crashed ashore, 39 people were reported dead, the majority outside Texas. Ike's remnants caused flooding as far north as Chicago. Across the Midwest, the violent weather closed hundreds of schools and blocked roads.
In Texas, the largest search-and-rescue operation in state history was likely to continue for several days. Rescuers found 60 survivors on the Bolivar Peninsula, which stretches across the Texas Gulf Coast. Some communities were nearly washed away, including Smith Point and Oak Island just north of the peninsula.
"I think the next 24 hours are telling," says State Sen. Tommy Williams, whose district includes six of the hardest-hit counties in Texas. "I'm holding my breath."
Among the biggest problems in Ike's aftermath:
• An estimated 3.7 million people were without power Monday in Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana and Arkansas, the Energy Department reported.
• Nearly 40,000 people were in shelters, said Joe Becker, American Red Cross senior vice president.
• About 99% of crude oil production operations in the Gulf region were offline, said Kevin Kolevar, the Energy Department's assistant secretary for electricity delivery.
President Bush, who travels to Texas today, warned the price of gas will rise. "There's going to be a pinch," he said.
Galveston officials pleaded with residents who stayed behind to leave so city workers can focus on restoring services. Oak Island, which has about 500 residents, lost about 95% of its homes, says Sarah Cerrone, economic development director for Chambers County. The county conducted door-to-door searches Monday. About 100 people have been rescued, Cerrone says.
Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said the situation is nearing a health crisis. The city can produce only a tiny amount of clean drinking water, there is minimal electricity and the University of Texas Medical Branch is unable to care for seriously injured people.
To the roughly 20,000 people who remained, Thomas said simply, "Please leave. The city is in ruins."
Link to up to the minute information today on Hurricane Ike via Bosco Radio: News and Information powered by KRTH Radio in Houston. Regularly scheduled shows such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered will have updates on Ike as well. Check out newspapers from all over the country and their coverage of Ike in the Bosco Newsrack powered by Newseum.
Consider donating your resources for Hurricane Ike Victims by going to www.redcross.org or calling 1.800.red.cros. You can also text a $5 donation by typing in GIVE and texting to 24356 (2HELP). The Salvation Army is also taking donations at www.salvationarmy.org or by calling 1.800.SAL.ARMY
Source: USA Today
Photo: Associated Press