Friday, September 12, 2008

Evacution Situation

The Galveston police chief is telling reporters that perhaps 50% of Galveston's population did not evacuate. That concerns me . . .

They have opened up a shelter of "last resort" in one of the high schools - bare bones - no cot, no supplies really, but better than being in a structure that won't survive.

There are buildings that survived the 1900 Hurricane. The seawall will help.

However, I have a hard time believing that the people who live on the east and west ends of the island with no seawall did not evacuate.

People who live in buildings downtown are a different issue. Many of the downtown buildings are old and sturdy. The surge there is likely to be bad, but not like it is on the actual coast-beach.

Hurricane Rita was both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, our country and state learned some valuable lessons about how to conduct this kind of large scale evacuation. This time around, they issued the mandatory evacuation orders in shifts of priority of danger to people. The coastal areas were evacuated first and then they moved up into the bay areas all the way into Houston proper. They had fuel tanks ready to refuel the gas stations - so fuel has not been an issue. The TV news had good information as to which routes were clogged and which were running smoothly. We've learned how to evacuate people who can't evacuate themselves - the buses were there and ready. No one had a good excuse not to leave - the buses were taking everyone that showed up. This morning people in Galveston could call 311 and emergency personel would help them get out of town.

However, on the curse side, when Rita came calling people took it very seriously because it followed so closely behind Katrina. However, Rita shifted course abruptly coming in at a best case scenario. So many people decided that they did not need to leave- that leaving for Rita had been a futile exercise. They thought they would have been better off at home. So many people who did evacuate for Rita may have chosen to shelter at home from Ike. It is still not too late for them to go to the high school.

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