Things are still crazy in Houston. Most of the city is still without power and many of the streets are impassable. Thanks to a cold front that arrived Sunday, temperatures have been in the 70s, so people have not had to suffer blistering heat.
Mayor Bill White ordered a week-long curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. because of the widespread damage and darkness. Houston police issued more than 108 citations – and made at least 32 arrests – during the first night of the curfew. The arrests included a group of people arrested in a stolen vehicle, while others apparently stole from homes and stores.
Although Mayor White has worked hard to keep things under control, there have been a few hiccups. The local relief efforts have been slow because of miscommunication between FEMA, the City of Houston, and the State of Texas. FEMA brought supplies to various locations, but there were no people to distribute them. When all agencies finally coordinated their efforts, thousands of people flocked to distribution sites to get food, ice and bottled water. Each vehicle was limited to two bags of ice, one case of bottled water and a single 12-pack of ready-to-eat meals. Obviously, there was much frustration and anger as people waited to get their supplies. There was even a shooting at a gas station after two people got into an argument.
I’m thankful that we didn’t have to deal with this madness. We have power and plenty of food to accommodate the 10 people who have taken shelter in our home. Our biggest problem has been figuring out how to occupy five children, ages 1 to 9, all day long.
My parents went to check the status of their home yesterday. Their neighborhood was a disaster area with trees, power lines, and debris strewn all over. Several of their neighbors suffered significant property damage; however, they were fortunate to have experienced no damage. They are still without power,though, so our 10-person slumber party will continue for a few more days.
Today, my stepdad and I attempted to get some gas. The wait was over two hours so we decided to try again later. On our way home, we found a grocery store that was open. We were in desperate need of milk for the children. The normally 10-minute drive, took us about half an hour. The lines were not too long, but people were filling their carts with everything that they could pack into them. I hope we have enough diapers to last a few days because there were none to be found.
Officials have only attributed 30 deaths to the hurricane, but judging by the videos and pictures of destroyed homes and business I’ve seen, I fear the death toll will grow exponentially. Please keep those affected by the storm in your thoughts and prayers.