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Monday, September 15, 2008

IKE’s Aftermath – FEMA Fumbles and Boats in the Pool

IKE’s Aftermath – FEMA Fumbles and Boats in the Pool

So this is what it is like to be in a third world country. We lost power sometime early Saturday morning when IKE came over. It was a howler as a CAT 2. Had it been a CAT 3 we would have lost more than trees and fences. In the middle of the night Saturday a tree landed on the roof from the neighbor’s yard. Luckily it landed at the same angle as the roof, distributing its massive weight over the roof instead of crushing it.

When I walked back to see about a blown-down fence I discovered the neighbor’s tree had sliced his house in two. He said over a camp stove meal we served that he could hear it breaking each set of rafters in a “20-second slow motion version of a tornado.” It now fills up the room which was a bedroom.

We still don’t have power and this laptop needs a charge again. I finally got a converter from Radio Shack that lets me charge the laptop on the car cigarette lighter – then I connect to the internet via my Blackberry which I am also charging on the car system. That will work until the car runs out of gas and it’s getting low.

Today was the first day they let us back into Seabrook. I needed to see if my lake office was destroyed. They were allowing only residents who live WEST of highway 146 to enter (the east side on Galveston Bay is still off limits with debris blocking roads). A resident who stayed for the storm said that it had been “scary” and would never do it again. A boat was in the pool. My third floor apartment was high and dry but had no power. If I’d stayed the car would have been flooded.

FEMA has fumbled again. Three days into it and suddenly they said the State of Texas was supposed to set up the distribution centers (over 40) instead of FEMA – that was news to the Houston Mayor and County Judge. It has learned nothing from prior emergencies. Incompetence seems to rule FEMA and our government for too long. They pay people to do nothing but think about stuff like this -- and they still can’t get it right. Valuing loyalty for jobs instead of competence has left us with lines a mile long at the few gas stations open and another slow fumble from FEMA.

Only 25% of us have power, leaving 1.5 million of us in the Houston area still in the dark.

Yes, cooking eggs on a camp stove and boiling water for instant coffee was fun -- for a day. Then it gets to be old hat. About noon today even a Wendy’s or McDonald’s burger suddenly looked fantastic. Car lines that wrapped around the block were at any of the very few restaurants open. Fortunately the water heater is gas and it is still going, so a hot shower in the morning is possible even if washing clothes is not (that requires electricity unless you want to beat your clothes on a rock somewhere).

Out of juice. More later…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW! You made it a whole DAY cooking on a camp stove and boiling water for instant coffee? Amazing, how did you last that long? What's the problem, crisis not resolved in the time it takes you to watch a half-hour sitcom? LOL.