Typical of the behavior exhibited during Katrina, it now appears we have a real-time cover-up playing out for the West End of Galveston Island.
I have been concerned about the west end of the island from since before the hurricane made landfall because of the lack of seawall and the fact that
the communities in that area are virtually sitting at sea level. Certain areas of the west end of the island are so narrow between Gulf and bay that
if you're a really good golf player, you could make a water shot from one side to the other.
I have been following the damage report forums set up by KHOU (Houston News Channel) to try and find out the state of the west end, because I started
getting a rather hinky feeling yesterday when NO reports of the west end came out by the major OR local news stations. AND, when a helicopter was
finally sent up for aerial footage by one local news source, IT SHOWED NO FOOTAGE OF THE WEST END.
In fact, the Coast Guard has video on their site of post-hurricane fly overs and they do NOT show the west end communities.
There is a KHOU forum dedicated to damage on Galveston Island. Access here...
Even the displaced home owners of the West end are in the dark. Last evening it was posted that Houston ABC affiliate Channel 13 (KTRK I believe)
reported that "police had banned media coverage of the west end of the island". That was the first disturbing sign.
Then, a resident who is relocated posted that her husband is in the Coast Guard and even HE couldn't get a straight story on the state of the west
It has just been reported on Houston local news stations that "FEMA has taken over the cell phone service for the Galveston area".
I fear that portions of the west end of the island are completely gone. And I fear FEMA and LE (Law Enforcement) are trying to keep this from the
public until the waters recede.
My personal opinion on people who remain behind during hurricanes is that they have less than a full deck of cards ...BUT, with that opinion aside the
numbers (as stated by the Mayor of Galveston) are playing out as follows:
20,000 residence were reported to have stayed.
40% of the population lives on the west end of the island
Ambiguous statements by the mayor have alluded to "devastation" and "taking a beating". In one press conference she got very emotional when
referencing the damage to the west end.
I fear the worst (because that's the way I am - a worry wart)...but I thought I'd let people know that FEMA has commandeered the only communication
system available to any one who may be alive on the west end...and the media is being reported to not have access to reporting on the area.
KHOU Galveston damage forum:
Thread reporting FEMA blocking cell phone access:
Just so anyone unfamiliar with the island can understand the region in question, please see this Galveston Island map (pdf):
The blow-up at the bottom is the area not covered yet. Basically everything west of the seawall is in question. There is one report on Pirate's
Beach, but aside from that - unknown.
[edit on 9-14-2008 by Valhall]