Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Devastated Surfside Condo

This is the condo we planned to stay at before Himmicane Ike visited. It looks like a few months will pass before this beachfront condo will be ready for visitors.

Bolivar Peninsula is now an island

What was Bolivar Peninsula is now three separate islands, and most homes there were destroyed.

“It’s no longer Bolivar Peninsula,” state Rep. Craig Eiland of Galveston said. “It’s an island times three. The roads are cut, and the bridges are out. Residents won’t be back anytime soon.”

No bodies have been found, but officials said the situation was grim. “I’m not Pollyanna,” County Judge Jim Yarbrough said. “I think we’ll find some. We certainly expect to find some.”

Yarbrough said emergency crews were on the ground. He urged the remaining 300 residents to leave on emergency boats and helicopters.

By next week, sheriff’s deputies will institute martial law, forcing remaining residents out of the area.

Transportation to the area is cut off. The Bolivar Ferry will be down for months. There is no estimate on when the service will return.

Himmicane Ike and Houston

Large area won't have lights till after Monday

CenterPoint Energy executives issued a timeline for power restoration Wednesday evening, indicating it will be after Monday before most lights shine in a huge swath of the Houston area from Spring to Pearland to Baytown.

David McClanahan, CenterPoint's president and chief executive, emphasized that many customers in those areas will see their power restored earlier, and the company said high-voltage lines and other major points in the system are repaired.

Dozens of neighborhoods deal with sewage backups

Sewage backups have plagued more than 30 neighborhoods across Houston because more than a hundred motors that keep wastewater moving to treatment plants have been without power since Hurricane Ike barreled through, a city official said today.

About half of Houston's 400 lift stations have regained electricity, said Alvin Wright, spokesman for the city's public works department. But backups have occurred at more than three dozen lift stations since Ike struck, he said.

Ike evacuees, the furry kind, arrive in Houston

Hurricane Ike not only devastated Galveston, forcing thousands of residents off the island, but the killer storm also displaced countless domestic pets. Some five animals have already been found dead, said Caroline Dorsett, executive director of the Galveston Island Humane Society, which she said was destroyed.

Animal advocacy officials and a legion of volunteers from around the country now are working to rescue the stray pets and reunite them with their owners in Houston.

"These animals are part of people's families," said Kay Mayfield, director of emergency services for Colorado-based Code 3, a national animal rescue group that is in town working with SPCA to search for the animals. "They need to be rescued just like humans do."

SPCA officials are asking Houstonians to open their homes to the storm-weary pets for the next 10 days. If the animals are not claimed within that window the host can opt to adopt the pet or return it to SPCA's shelter at 900 Portway Drive, Nandlal explained.

The animals are cute and diverse in age and types: From kittens and pups to Tabby cats and Pomeranian dogs. One black and white Rat Terrier, Maxine, was swollen with pregnancy, but frisky and energetic. Some of the pets were nippy, growling and revealing their teeth. Others appeared docile, searching for any comforting hand to pat them on the head.

"These animals have been through a very big storm so clearly they are under a little bit of stress," Nandlal said.
~The Houston Chronicle

Galveston's crippled water system concerns heath officials

Galveston desperately needs to repair its crippled water distribution system to avoid widespread disease, health officials said today, as broken sewage lines, polluted water and dangerous debris continued to pose grave health hazards.

No infectious diseases have been found in the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Ike, Galveston County's top health officials said.

But as people come down with diarrhea, nausea and one case of flesh-eating bacteria, Galveston city manager Steve LeBlanc said the island is facing a growing health crisis.

"We just want to avoid a mass infection type situation," he said.

The single medical treatment facility - the University of Texas Medical Branch -was partially flooded during the storm.

Its emergency room has been taken over by two U.S. Health and Human Services Disaster Medical Assistance Teams.

Residents of hurricane-battered Galveston may be able to return to their homes in a week, Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said today.

Electricity has been restored to the University of Texas Medical Branch and surrounding areas, LeBlanc said. The entire city, he said, should have power in seven to 10 days.
~The Houston Chronicle