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16 September 2008 @ 08:19 am
FEMA FUBAR, a rant  
First, the gratitude: we are all alive and well; the house is still standing. We have the university open with electricity so I can post. These are all good things. Now for the reality.

Houston is a city of more than 4 million people. FEMA has set up 17 or 18 (their spokesperson is not sure of the exact number) PODs (points of distribution) in the 4 days since Ike struck. Do the math here. If you happen to have access to radio or TV (and since 99% of my electric company's customers are still without power) then you know where the PODs are. If you can get to one (there are so few gas stations operating that there have been riots) and prove you live in the neighborhood, you are given 2 liters of water, 2 MREs, and a bag of ice. See ya tomorrow. WTF? This is the new and improved FEMA? Sure.

And, ahem, there are plenty of cities outside of Houston just as hard hit. Conroe, Woodlands, Willis, Montgomery, Huntsville to name a few close to my heart. We have nada from FEMA. It's like we do not exist.

Now to the power company that serves us: in the 4 days since Ike they have managed to restore power to less than 1% of its customers. All the radio folks are telling us to be patient. However, they have power where they are. They are not stumbling in the dark, taking cold showers (I have not needed coffee this week) or worrying about getting fuel for their cars. We would simply head out to a hotel but we would have to drive more than 3 hours before finding anything with power AND a vacancy let alone finding one that will take pets.

OK, back to gratitude. Family and friends and co-workers are all hanging together and trying to be cheerful as possible. The residents of the back bedroom are thrilled with the prospect of no school (it is, we think, closed for the week at least). I am happy that if flights are running tomorrow I get to go to Utah and have a long hot shower and hot food. Life is good.

Thanks to all those who sent emails and left comments. Ike has destroyed the lovely coastal communities and left downtown in a shambles with debris everywhere (we saw photos online). But more, of course, is the human toll. We sit in the evening as it gets quite dark without any lights and listen to people call in looking for ATMs, grocery stories, gas stations, PODs. It is easy to hear the terror and fright and sadness in these disembodied voices. And that is when we are once again grateful that we have food (for now) and gas (for one more trip here and back from the campus) and water (plentiful thanks to the one utility company that seems to be present). We can replace the spoiled food. We can repair the few shingles. We can survive without the cold drinks (a beer would be nice even now). We can bear the heat. A month seems a long time to be without. We hope for the best between now and then.

I will post more cheerful stuff once I have the chance to do some reading.
Tags: , ,
Current Mood: I've been better
cynleitichsmithcynleitichsmith on September 16th, 2008 01:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the update, Teri. Our thoughts have been with you. Any word on how public and/or school libraries have fared in Galveston, etc.? I've been thinking of the flooding.
professornanaprofessornana on September 16th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
Re: hugs
The official word is that schools down in that part are closed until further notice. I suspect that they will have to bus kids in as they did for Katrina evacuees. Schools up here may be closed for a month, and we did not bear the brunt like Galveston.

Jenniesassywoman on September 16th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
Thinking of you and everyone impacted by Ike.
latteyalatteya on September 16th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
Sending good thoughts your way. I hope your situation improves soon:)
Jo Knowlesjbknowles on September 16th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear you are OK! Wish I could send you an ice-cold beer.

Take care, and I hope electricity is restored ASAP!

David Lubardavidlubar on September 16th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
I hope you get power back soon. The longest I ever had to go was about 18 hours (though it was winter and I have electric heat). My brother had an experience similar to your in Florida after Andrew. It's tough. But you're tough, too. Hang in there.
mrs_j1mrs_j1 on September 16th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
My thoughts are with you and your family. Once again, our lovely government is really on the ball...
Faerlyn: peace love vampiresfaerlyn_darkelf on September 16th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
I am so glad everyone is safe! like you said, that's the most important thing (and PETS are of course included in everyone) we have a guest room if someone is desperate!
sdnsdn on September 16th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
thanks for this, i've been fretting about you.

p.s. i am coming to tla!!
thunderchikin on September 17th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
I was hoping Dub-ya would take better care fo his home folks, but I guess not.
suzmet: librariansuzmet on September 17th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
good thoughts from AK
Atticus, Joe and I send our good thoughts to Henry, the residents, Scout, other kitty and you. Wish we could zoom you all up here to Alaska. We'd have salmon and crab and a good cold beer.
Thanks for keeping us updated. We've been worrying about you.

--suz (who's trying to think of some snarky political comment or Palin joke, but it's been too long a day.) If you haven't seen the SNL skit on Palin & Hillary, it's worth a look: http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/palin-hillary-open/656281/
suzmetsuzmet on September 17th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
Re: good thoughts from AK
Oops, I should have looked down the page a bit. I was reading backwards. I see you already posted.