Sunday, September 21, 2008

IKE recovery continues

Here in Houston it is getting hot and humid again, and still 50% of Houston is without electricity and water. Some will not have electricity for weeks yet, and worse are those who live closer to the coast where the restoration of power is anyone's guess. People are weary and getting wearier. For some it is difficult to even find a shower. There have been long lines to request emergency food stamps - families waiting in the heat and sun for eight hours or more. And FEMA is leaving now and the local charities are taking over. We try not to travel too far from home because most of the traffic lights don't work. So there are huge pile ups in traffic everywhere you drive, and it takes twice as long to get anywhere as it does when the lights are working.

The Galveston islanders have been very upset that they have not yet been allowed back on the island to inspect their homes and properties (see photo of a sign someone painted on a surviving trailer on the island). So, under pressure, the mayor of Galveston made another change in plans for their return. Now every citizen on the island can return on Wednesday beginning at dawn, although only those who live behind the seawall can stay. How this is ever going to be enforced is beyond me.

Can you imagine what kind of traffic jam we are going to see, since we are talking about 40,000 people driving on one highway (the only highway) and across one bridge (the only bridge) into Galveston? Can you imagine how much fuel is going to be wasted at a time when people are waiting for hours at the local gas stations to fuel up? Some gas stations still are out of commission because they have no power for their pumps, and gas is scarce because several of the refineries have been off line since the hurricane.

I imagine that Wade will return to work this week once the island opens up again and the Law and Justice Center reopens. I will return to my office tomorrow, and try to get my mind back into my teaching and research. I have been trying to work on editing some of the papers for the Codex Judas Congress volume, but even this has been hard to concentrate on, given the situation in Houston which is nowhere near normal.

For this photo and MORE GO HERE
Photo by Karen Warren for the Houston Chronicle
A sign painted on the side of a trailer in Galveston

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