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September 16th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

Scattered pieces of people's lives

John Couwels
CNN Producer

I was in Smith Point, Texas, an area populated by more cattle then people. Cattle were roaming the streets like lost kids and some fell victim to Ike. At the southern end of the point near the entrance to Galveston Bay, at little community the residents call "Bay Town," several homes were completely destroyed.

Next to the water I saw pylons sticking out of the ground and Jim Robins, a local resident, told me three homes used to be there. There was a concrete slab that Jim said was a big beautiful home before the hurricane.

Pieces of people’s lives were scattered all over the neighborhood. Some of the debris Jim believed came from Crystal Beach – 6 miles away across East Bay. Jim pointed at the different sets of wooden poles as if he could still see the homes, telling me that was Robert Jones' place and next-door was Jim Healy’s.


Filed under: Hurricane Ike
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I'm curious if China had a better response time in cleanup after the earthquake that hit right before the Olympics then our government does with cleaning up after Ike. We're suppose to be the most powerful nation yet we can't even send out crews to help clean up the roads in a timely manner so that people can start cleaning up their own houses and power and water can establish their services.

    September 16, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  2. Yolaine

    Iam a Belizean from Belize and we are also in the hurricane zone but so far we have been very lucky. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Ike . The government and the people of Belize are organizing donations to Haiti since they too ar a part of the caribbean.Anderson , you are doing a wonderful job and we watch your show every day .

    September 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  3. Sarah Graham

    As a resident of the MS Gulf Coast, I know first hand the horror that has befalled TX.

    The 'fly over' pictures, scenes shown by reporters, and 'before and after' shots show the enormous economic and property loss.

    But I know of a greater horror. It's taking place everyday since evacuations were ordered and becomes worse with every passing hour. It was reported that 2 million people evacuated. I have heard that upwards of 50.000 are in shelters. That STILL leaves almost 2 million people out there SOMEWHERE!! I can ASSURE you that the MAJORITY are NOT resting comfortably in a hotel or taken in by relatives or friends in other areas.

    If CNN wants to really report on the fate of evacuees they should just take a ride up the Interstate highways. Stop at any 'rest stop', truck stop, fast food store, large parking lot, or any place that people can stop their cars!!! You will see the worst story of human misery! The people who barely had enough money for gasoline to get out of Ike's way. The people without the means to rent a hotel room.....even IF one as available. The MASSES of people who were turned away from shelters that were FULL. We witnessed this tragedy of human misery after the evacuations for Katria and Gustav.

    The Red Cross has shelters. Local churches and organizations also open shelters. But the sad and pitiful TRUTH is that not everyone has shelter. From my personal experience with evacuations, I feel confident in saying that probably 50% of evacuees are just "out there somewhere", parked and living in vehicles, most with NO money to even buy food or gas, unable to even GET to a shelter.

    I have been in evacuations. I have seen the misery. YES, the property destruction and loss of power and infrastructure is a BIG STORY that grabs lots of viewers, BUT it is NOTHING compared to what has been happening to probably 50% of the people with NO PLACE to go, NO MONEY to sustain themsleves, and NO HOPE of assistance because they cannot GET TO the "designated" places or have been turned away! If viewers think the sight of destroyed communities is sad, the story of the evacuated is beyond sad or even pitiful, it's a human tragedy beyond words to express.

    I challenge ANY news organization to COVER that story!!!

    September 16, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  4. Vicky, Ontario, Canada

    Thanks for continuing to bring us news from the areas hit by Ike. Your pictures look very much to me like what I saw in the lower ninth ward in New Orleans, and similar to other areas of New Orleans and St. Bernard parish. It's hard to get a real understanding of the size of the area involved... I know in New Orleans and Louisiana it seemed to go on for miles and miles and miles. I had hoped that the people in the path of Ike would listen to the warnings and evacuate.... I know the stories from Katrina survivors who stayed told of horrifying, traumatic experiences, and hoped that this might spare others from a similar experience. This is going to be a long recovery, and hope you continue to keep us informed.

    September 16, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  5. Jonnie

    Many homes are built with concrete block, including mine and I live in florida. What we need is tongue and groove and cement roofs along with hurricane strength windows. The windows were made so that people could protect themselves, from winds up to 200 miles per hour, yet the price is so high, many can't afford them.

    It doesn't make sense to me. It seems that the cost of not giving this protection is soooooo much higher than if they had just given the windows for free.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  6. Christy Barnard

    I agree with Annie, above...I just got finished asking the CNN folks this, myself, via email. There was coverage of Katrina that went on for months, and for the first week or so, it was ALL that was covered. Why aren't the people in Texas getting the same coverage? Because they behaved better? It just doesn't make any sense to me. This country needs to see and realize just how much help they need in Texas.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
  7. Sharon Williams

    To the people of Texas that were effected by Ike, our prayers are with you. I'm a survior of hurricane Andrew back in 1992. Dade county back in the 1960's had very strick rules for how new homes were constructed, and most of them were concrete blocks and stronger roofs not just flimsey plyboard.During the 1960's and 1992 and the great expence it was getting to build these type houses took it's toll. By 1970 home inspections were getting lax and cheaper homes were built. So when Andrew hit south dade county ( where i lived ) in 92 the damage was horrible, as Ike's is. The homes are not the problem in all cases it's the places where these homes are built, sitting on the beach is just a disater waiting to happened. States along costal shores should not allow any more new homes to be built on the sands along the ocean, and building codes should be tougher along the coast of every state.

    September 16, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  8. gregg

    Just a comment to the people across the country regarding the stubborn few who decided not leave hurricane warning zones. I live in houston and know first hand that there are many millions here who did prepare and did follow direction of elected officials. I offer no excuses for those who stayed but the people who did follow orders they are suffering now do to the lack of help from Fema and the federal and state governments. Shorly after the storm hit Mayor White of houston was called by Governor Perry a protege of Pres Bush that the city and county would not be getting assistance with the Pod's ( point of distribution centers. Mayor White at last minute said he would take over the responsibilties. With that said there are many thousands of people that are not getting assistance from fema. Supplies are not getting to the sites and it seems Brownie, former fema head is in control again.........
    Remember Pres. Bush's words to Fema head Brown, BROWNIE YOU ARE DOIN A HELLUVA JOB! we all know the job Brownie did..............

    September 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  9. Brenda Harris

    It would make since to me if people would never build homes in areas that could be blown away in hurricanes. Resorts maybe that could be packed up an hauled away in hurricane season. This keeps happening year after year and people keep building the same and expecting different results. It ups the price of insurance for eveyone. The money spent on recovery could be spent building communities in safe areas. We can't afford more of the same.

    September 16, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  10. gregg

    I live in houston and just had power back on however there are millions still with no power or water. There is much help needed here and i am shocked at the lack of coverage on cnn. Foxnews of all .com news services are showing the terrible conditons here. The more people who see the worsening situations here will be more inclined to help us. another situation is the Gov of Texas who is been repeatedly saying at news conferences the he hopes Fema and the feds will treat us as well as they did for New Orleans and Lousiana after Katrina. GIVE ME A BREAK GOVERNOR Perry. The whole world knows how poorly they were taken care of by the feds and fema. Perhaps he is attempting to rewrite Pres. Bush legacy regarding his inferior and incompetent pathetic assistance.

    September 16, 2008 at 11:13 am |
  11. Chuck

    Sadly due to the race card not being played in Texas as it was in NO this story has dropped out of the public media faster than any major natural disasters that I can remember. The portion of Texas coast devastated was white, upper class Americans. The portion of LA that was flooded was the white middle class area. The cost of IKE is estimated around $20 Billion. Katrina was estimated at $22 Billion (insurance cost) (but cost us tax payers over $160 billion over the past few years)

    If anyone in Texas is frustrated with lack of media coverage I totally understand. After losing everything in Hurricane Ivan in 2004, media coverage lapsed so quickly that my folks in VA didnt think it was that bad till I sent them pictures.

    September 16, 2008 at 10:43 am |
  12. Luz Gonzalez

    I am very sorry for the loss experienced by people affected by the hurricane. I do, however, keep asking myself why is it that we keep building with materials that everyone knows will be damaged or destroyed by hurricanes. I am originally from Puerto Rico and have lived through several hurricanes. Homes there are built of concrete blocks and are able to withstand high winds. (Flooding is another issue). While it would be more expensive to build homes with these materials, we wouldn't have as much damage and the recovery costs would not be as outrageous. Building codes should be changed for properties that are in hurricane prone areas.

    September 16, 2008 at 10:28 am |
  13. Annie Kate

    Is it just me or does the devastation Ike left look worse than Katrina's? I know Texas got it the worst but other communities along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida got flooded too – is anyone covering those stories?

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 16, 2008 at 9:09 am |