Hurricane Ike Update #10: Crystal Beach, Texas Damage & Relief Efforts
Posted Oct 22 2008 4:25pm
There are massive efforts underway to provide relief to the hurricane torn city of Galveston, Texas and the nearby beach towns. I recently tagged along on a U.S. Army relief mission to Crystal Beach, Texas in the role of Registered Nurse. Naturally, I brought my camera along. And I was able to do a lot of windshield photography.
A picture truly speaks a thousand words. I can not even begin to try to describe the damage done by Hurricane Ike. I took hundreds of pictures. Of those pictures, I uploaded around 100 of them to a photo set on Flickr (or you can also view as a slideshow ). You can pop over there and have a look.
I need to warn you that some of the photos are graphic. The cattle in the area did not fare well. And neither did some of the sea animals. Several have washed ashore. The livestock that is still alive is loose and roaming the peninsula. There were cows at the police station.
The storm debris that litters the highways and beaches is unbelievable. There are couches, chairs and other household items in the road. Sand still covers much of the highway along the beach. There are bucket loaders still working on clearing the roads. In many areas, all that is left of the homes are the wooden stilts. There are also damaged cars upside down in the fields and pastures along the beach.
There are photographs of all of these things I have mentioned in the photo set on Flickr (or you can also view as a slideshow ). But, I also wanted to share the photos that showed another side of the storm. The human side. Texans are a strong and stubborn bunch. Many homes were boarded up with words scrawled on them like Take a hike Ike and I don't like Ike. I love the perseverance and strength that rings through in the first photo above- Ike, we are still here.
Statues of the Blues Brothers were set out in front of this beach bar and grill severely damaged by the hurricane. Someone has kept their sense of humor through all of this.
There are hundreds of hard working men and women working their tails off. The law enforcement officers are manning roadblocks and running patrols over the area 24-7. There are first responders providing MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and cases of water to residents who chose to stay through the hurricane. There are Texas Department of Transportation workers and U.S. Army Corps of Engineer workers clearing the sand and debris from the roads with bucket loaders. And I can't tell you how many times I saw them pushing people out of the sand who got stuck. Including us. And including the state trooper we were following. As they were pushing the car out of the sand, I asked them to "Say cheese!"- they all laughed and I snapped the above shot.
There were 5 people who chose to ride out Hurricane Ike at this hotel right on Crystal Beach near Galveston. They continue to refuse to leave despite heavy hurricane damage, no electricity, no water and no cell phone service. The U.S. Army provided them with water and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). They were also asking for Motrin. All of them were sore and achy from overdoing it while cleaning up from the storm.
This family has a home on Crystal Beach. They are currently staying with their church pastor in High Island. They drove a golf cart up to the POD (Point of Distribution) to pick up some water and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). They were also driving around to see if they could pick up some cell phone service. The family was upbeat and friendly despite the loss of their home. The young boy engaged my husband in a conversation about HumVees. When he found out that HumVees can only go about 70mph, he replied "They need some NOS". We all laughed at the thought of souping up HumVees with Nitrous Oxide.
It was a bit surreal to see smiles and hear laughter amidst all the devastation and destruction. But, it is a good sign. It is a sign that there is hope. And that Texans are a tough and stubborn bunch. Everything really is bigger in Texas. Especially the hearts of the people in Texas.