This just in–water is available in Liverpool, 30 miles from Galveston!
Do not expect any documentable real news from Ike’s strike until later today or probably tomorrow. As in any disaster, initial reports will be too rosy or too dire. It will take days for the full scope of this disaster to be known. No one has a clue how many people ignored the mandatory evacuation orders, so those involved with search and rescue do not know how many people they are looking for. Estimates of close to 150,000 people in the counties affected make this a daunting task for sure.
Due to the size of Ike, hurricane conditions will continue to buffet the entire area most of today. Do not expect to see anything but the barest of live of coverage from the worst areas. It is simply not safe for anyone to go out until the water recedes and the winds die down. Houston must endure many hours of relentless high tides and winds. No definitive details of its fate will be known today.
High tide in Galveston matched pretty much when Ike came ashore. Only time will tell what has become of the estimated 15,000 people who stayed and refused to leave the island. The honest fear is that from Galveston all the way to the western suburbs of New Orleans when the water recedes what will be found is carnage due to the high numbers of people who failed to leave the areas.
The time has come in America for mandatory evacuations to mean just that. If people refuse to leave, they should either be arrested and hauled to some secure facility or sign a paper acknowledging NO emergency services are available and no lawsuits can be filed. Images of emergency personnel risking their lives to save those who at the very last minute “chickened out” and wanted to escape the storm make me very upset.
What good does a “mandatory evacuation” order mean if 20% of the people ignore it? The entire evacuation process in this country is a joke. Evacuations are ordered when not needed and not ordered when they are. People pick and choose which “mandatory” evacuation orders they want to abide by and then expect to be rescued when they ignore such orders.
For the next few days, just like after a major earthquake, the emphasis is on search and rescue. Those trained in this field are called “first responders” and their mission is to find, treat and rescue anyone still alive after this disaster. Only after those in critical situations are rescued will the search for those who died start in earnest. Only after that will the emphasis switch to helping those NOT in life threatening situations.
This tragedy will far surpass Katrina simply due to the amount of people involved and the size of the area covered. Just as in Katrina’s case, there will be hundreds of thousands of people with no power, no jobs and pretty much no house for weeks if not months. Sure, in a few days look for every spare electric truck in the country to head toward this area to help get the power on. But, along the coast there will be no power and no help for a very long time.
Keep this in mind; there are still thousands of people in Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama who have never gotten repairs made to their homes after Katrina three years ago. There is simply not enough crews, money and charities around to get to everyone. Now this disaster will be added into the mix. Everyone knows those with the most money will get repairs first, for they can afford to pay cash. Those who must hassle with insurance companies many times go months and years before receiving the funds needed to get roofs fixed and other repairs.
Just as in Katrina and Rita’s cases, there will be thousands of people who had no insurance and who must depend on FEMA or charities to provide assistance. Again, due to the size of this disaster, every governmental and charitable organization in existence will be taxed to the max over the next few months and years.
Make no mistake about it. We will be dealing with various effects of Ike for years. There are NO quick fixes after a major hurricane hit. Everything will go in slow motion for quite some time due to a multitude of issues from contaminated water to broken glass to electric wires down to hundreds of thousands of buildings which must be gutted before the mold makes them uninhabitable to …
As this drama turns the page to what comes next, please continue to pray for those whose lives have been turned upside down and inside out by this storm. Honestly, we will not know much of anything about the scope of this disaster for days. In the meantime I pray America realizes that like it or not; we have Katrina #2 on our hands—only worse.