Monday, October 27, 2008

Lives of Quiet Desperation

I'm interrupting my series on Day of the Dead for this important message. I'm not sending the worst photos - those of bloated dead cows, goats, pets floating in the harbor. Or the photos of Bolivar with nothing but slabs for as far as the eye can see. I'm sending these photos so that you
DON'T forget the people of Galveston and the coastal towns who have lost EVERYTHING and are getting NO help. Truly, no help! AT least not from FEMA - read on. This first photo is of Evergreen Helicopters. I worked there in the late 70's when it was a beautiful brand new building. I was the Human Resource Director for everything east of the Rocky Mountains. It is a great company. But, it's gone - no helicopters which there were probably at least 20 of them - no pilots, no aviation mechanics, no office staff. NADA Which adds up to no jobs.
So, Evergreen is now one folding table in front of what's left of the offices of Scholes Field in Galveston. There are many helicopter bases on this field to shuttle people to the offshore rigs. I don't know the situation of the other bases, but I assume they are as bad off as Evergreen.

These photos were mailed to me by my friend Vandy, who I have written about many times. Vandy volunteers on this harbor boat a couple of times a week. The money made from this ride supports the Galveston Historical Foundation's maintenance of all the historical buildings and homes on the island. Although Vandy volunteers his time, the other people had jobs on this boat.
Now NADA, no jobs.

It is hard to tell from this photo the devastation of Sue and Vandy's house. Luckily they were here in San Miguel, so they do have some clothes and a car. But the house is "totalled". The water was at least five feet deep and the mold is crawling up the walls. Sue and Vandy are living in a motel room. They'll be there for quite a while.
All of this blog was written because I got so mad this morning when I read the following. A FEMA spokesman said last week, "Anyone living in a tent or a car is there by choice". REALLY.
Maybe they are living there because they have no place else to go since FEMA has only shipped in 200 trailers in 6 weeks - 200 trailers in 6 weeks! THEY promised 300 a week starting six weeks ago. Ike hit September 13th.
I KNOW people who have no home left - these are friends, a former NASA engineer who worked for 30 years at NASA; Sue and Vandy who have given more to the island then anyone I have ever met; a recently retired pilot from Evergreen; and the list goes on and on. These are not deadbeats; they are not people who have ever looked for a handout, ever. But they are people who need help now in a time of desperation.
YOU should be as mad as I am. It could be you! Can't our government do any better? It disgusts me. Oh, and don't EVEN get me started on the insurance companies............


Kay Cox said...

Thank you, thank you. Somehow we have disappeared off the radar. Yesterday a group of us got together to make sandwiches for folks who are in San Leon...either homeless or unable to live in what is left of their homes. The devastation is incredible. FEMA arrived quickly to hand out ice, water and MREs but then faded into the woodwork. There are still women living in their across the street from the Freeman Library where early voting is taking place. I should take her an Obama sign. Yes, things are better than they were in Katrina's aftermath but we are a long way from doing what is needed. Galveston and communities around the Bay need help, lots of help. The most real help seems to be coming from area churches...thank you, God, for their compassion.

Islagringo said...

What a stupid thing to say from a stupid agency to begin with. What ARE they doing there???

Babs said...

Thanks Kay - being on the "front line", it is good for you to write and keep us informed. It is hard to believe that San Leon still has no electricity. How can this be? In America. How can it be that there is no money to go through the rubble piles to retrieve the dead bodies? How can it be that now the survivors are living in tents in a field because they have shut down the government shelters?
Living in this tent camp are nurses, teachers, waitressess and waiters, displaced families. How can this be? In America! WHERE are the trailers? Where are the relief agencies? WHERE?

Kay Cox said...

I'll add a little here...I had a long conversation with a friend who has been putting in 10 and 12 hour days with the Red Cross. It seems the FEMA aid is part of a bureaucratic nightmare...everything has to meet state, county and city ordinances and regulations or get variances to them. FEMA can't put anything in without okays from the governing bodies in the community. Of course the problem with that is that in a disaster in some of these little communities the governing bodies are unable to move until some aid arrives. It's crazy and something at a state or federal level needs to be done to move through this kind of bureaucracy in a disaster especially one of this magnitude. But nobody wants to give up their authority. I don't know what the answer is but it is obvious that FEMA doesn't deserve all the blame.

Babs said...

Well Kay I would agree with you except for the fact that govenment officials in Houston, Beaumont and Galveston are mad as hell, cause they HAVE asked for their assistance and were PROMISED assistance and HAVE NOT gotten it.
Go to the archives of the Houston Chronicle for Monday and read the article. That's what got me started. Or read the Galveston newspaper on a daily basis and see waht they are saying.....