Houston's post-Ike supplies coming, officials say

By: CNN
By: CNN

HOUSTON, Texas (CNN) --
Fearing food shortages, customers line up to buy groceries in League City, Texas, on Sunday.

1 of 3 more photos » Also Sunday, a state official said nearly 2,000 people who did not evacuate for Ike have been rescued in southeastern Texas, and rescue crews were still searching areas "door by door" for anyone needing help.

"There's an effort to knock on every door, get into every place ... and see if anyone's trapped and to rescue them and, unfortunately in some cases, maybe recover them," said Steve McCraw, director of Texas Homeland Security.

Ike was blamed for at least 13 U.S. deaths by Sunday evening, including at least three in hard-hit Galveston County, Texas.

In Houston, widespread debris, power outages and flooded streets prompted the city to enact a weeklong curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Some city officials, a day after Ike lashed Texas' Gulf Coast, suggested the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been slow to deliver aid.

"We expect FEMA to deliver these supplies and we will hold them accountable," Mayor Bill White said.

But Homeland Security Secretary Allan Chertoff said 80 trucks carrying food and water were heading for Houston's Reliant Stadium, and that the items would be taken to 24 distribution points selected by city and county officials.

Twenty-four hours after Ike slammed into Galveston, Texas, packing 110-mph winds, rescuers in the area began efforts early Sunday to check on people who failed to heed mandatory evacuation orders. See the destruction Ike left behind »

Among the coastal Texas residents who found themselves in trouble after Ike hit were Paul and Kathi Norton. They overslept as Ike closed in on their home, so they decided to tough it out because their evacuation route was already flooded.

Though their Crystal Beach, Texas, home, about 20 miles northeast of Galveston, was on 14-foot stilts, the couple was concerned, they told CNN affiliate KHOU-TV in Houston, Texas.

"My husband made me wear a life jacket inside our house," Kathi Norton said. "Thank God for that, or I couldn't be here."

Early Saturday, about two hours before Ike officially made landfall, high winds and rising floodwaters began battering their home. The house began collapsing, and "if the flagpole wouldn't have stopped the house, the house would've crushed us," Kathi Norton said.

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"It took the floor up, buckled down and took it right off the piling. And we dove out the door and grabbed the staircase, and we floated off," Kathi Norton told KHOU on Sunday after the couple was delivered in a National Guard helicopter to an evacuation point in Texas City, Texas. Watch how Crystal Beach was leveled »

Wanda Collins also stayed home as Ike approached. Collins has lived four blocks from Galveston's seawall for 30 years, and though she's seen hurricanes hit coastal Texas before, she's never had 5 feet of water collect in the garage under her home.

"I've never seen water like this," she said after the storm surge ruined everything in her garage, including a 2002 pickup truck, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a freezer, a washer and a dryer. iReport.com: See fire, flooding in Galveston

After weakening to a tropical depression, Ike delivered rain, high winds and flooding northward through Arkansas and the Midwest. In a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, dozens of people had to be evacuated by boat on Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

Ike's remnants were expected to continue on a northeasterly path, reaching New England by Monday morning.

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In depth: Hurricane Ike
The storm left Galveston without electricity, gas, water pressure and basic communications, and officials estimated those things may not be restored for a month, The Associated Press reported. See how Ike affected cities around Galveston Bay »

Homes and other buildings were flooded. Though much of the flooding receded by Sunday afternoon, sewage and sludge coated the streets. Officials encouraged those who were still there to leave. Watch Galveston man show damage to his home »

Jesse Segura's Galveston home started to flood as he tried to wait out Ike early Saturday. He told the Galveston County Daily News that even though the water inside was rising, he tried to sleep on two mattresses he stacked on his kitchen table.

But when water became chest-deep, he waded to his bathroom, got on top of his sink, punched his way into his attic and waited there, the Daily News reported. Later that morning, he was able to leave his house soaked and barefooted, and rescuers picked him up.

"This was a real close call to death for me," he told the Daily News. "I'll never do it again, man. I learned my lesson."

Ike also hammered residents farther inland, who helped make up the estimated 40,000 Texans seeking refuge in 250 shelters across the state, according to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. See Ike's trail of damage »

Ike, which moved through the heart of the U.S. oil industry, destroying at least 10 production platforms, federal officials said, according to the AP.

Deaths from Ike

Galveston County sheriff's Sgt. Greg Hayes said Sunday that three bodies were found in Port Bolivar, located across the narrow entrance to Galveston Bay from Galveston Island.

In Arkansas, a man was killed when a tree fell on his mobile home as the remnants of the storm swept through early Sunday, the Pointsett County sheriff said.

Four people in Louisiana -- two in Terrebonne Parish and two in Jefferson Davis Parish -- died as a result of Ike, Louisiana Chief Medical Officer Louis Cataldie said Sunday. Details about those deaths were not immediately released.

A woman died after a tree fell through her home Saturday morning in western Montgomery County, Texas, officials said. A day earlier, a 19-year-old man drowned after the storm surge swept him off a 100-foot pier near Corpus Christi, Texas.

A child died Saturday at a Houston hospital from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of a generator running inside the family's home, according to Lindsey Klingensmith, a spokeswoman for Memorial Hermann Hospital-Texas Medical Center.

Also, a 10-year-old boy was killed Friday by a falling tree limb as his father cut down a dead tree to prepare for the storm in Montgomery County, and an elderly person died while being evacuated to a shelter in Bell County, Texas.

President Bush, who declared much of the Texas-Louisiana coast a major disaster area, said Sunday he will visit Texas on Tuesday. Track the storm »

iReporter George Ramirez, of Seabrook, Texas, about 20 miles northwest of Galveston, said he will evacuate for the next hurricane after watching boats float down the middle of his apartment complex Saturday.

"It was 12-foot swells coming over a balcony," Ramirez said. "It was scary. I'll never do it again. It was really bad."

In nearby Pearland, D.J. Knight, a mother of two, stayed home during Ike and is now at home without power. Her home is surrounded by wreckage and flooded roads.

The storm was "horrible," she said, acknowledging that she underestimated it.

"The windows looked like they would explode," Knight said. "It just wouldn't stop." Watch Texas residents detail Ike's fury »

More than 2.8 million customers were without power Sunday in the states hit by Ike, including 2,471,962 in Texas, the U.S. Department of Energy said. The rest were in Louisiana and Arkansas.

In Houston, though the mayor said there is no sign of contamination in the city's water, he urged residents to drink bottled water or boil any tap water they intend to drink.

Hurricane Ike proved to be a huge storm system, 900 miles across at its largest. It remained a hurricane hours after crashing ashore over Galveston at 2:10 a.m. Saturday. Watch iReporter's luck with storm surge »

The storm surge, however, was smaller than forecast. The greatest surge, of 15 feet, happened at Sabine Pass, near the Texas-Louisiana line. Authorities had predicted surges of 20 to 25 feet.


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