Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Friday, September 26, 2008

Melendez: Media downplays Hurricane Ike

Steve and Cheryl Melendez at the American Indian Genocide Museum: Recovering from Hurricane Ike, Alabama Coushatta also hit

By Steve and Cheryl Melendez
Photo NPS/Chickasaw help Texas Alabama -Coushatta Nation

HOUSTON -- Finally , after two weeks we have electricity today. Many more are still without it. Phones and cell phones were not working . The hurricane brought down so many trees. There were trees on houses, on cars , on light poles and lying across the streets. That was the scene in my neighborhood and repeated throughout Houston and other cities. The aftermath of the storm left the city without power, water and public transportation. Houston and other areas have issued mandatory curfews. We have waited in FEMA lines for ice, food and water. Neighborhood Kroger opened this past week and we were allowed in five at a time. The line hooked around the store parking lot. No meat, dairy, bread. We were given only 10 minutes to get in and out. The gas stations had petrol, but could not run due to no source of power. When one station opened up the line was hours long. They limited the gas to only $20.00 worth if you were the lucky one to get it.

These have been conveniences and neccessities that we have come to depend on. But , thank God we still have our house. House, we have some roof damage. Fence blew out in the back yard. Had to throw away refrigerated foods, but again we are the blessed ones. So, many are now without a home to return to. Galveston, Crystal beach, Boliver, Gilcrest, High Island , Chambers county hit so hard. Gilcrest only one house remains after the hurricane. Nearly 400 people have been reported missing. Some of our friends have lost their homes.

The national news is not reporting this fairly and has been making this sound like a minor event. No Hollywood stars coming out to fundraise for our coastal communities. Many folks are permanent residents and these were not all vacation homes for the rich. Galveston has many poor people and the city depends on summer tourism.

This hurricane also affected the Texas Alabama Coushatta Reservation, the Woodlands, and ended up as a tropical storm knocking out power, and causing floods in Cincinnati , Ohio; caused 70 mile hour winds across the Canadian border. Hurricane Ike was so big it took up half of the Gulf of Mexico.

In all people are making do. Neighbors helping neighbors. Strangers becoming friends. Hope sustains us.
Photo National Park Service: An NPS bucket truck with a crew of four from Chickasaw NRA has arrived in the park and will be assisting Big Thicket and Lake Meredith saw crews with clearing priority access areas. Road clearing to oil and gas wellheads is continuing. The Central incident management team continues to assist the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas with support. Randy Larrabee from Chickasaw NRA is on site and is now conducting FMSS assessments and entering data. Forty-four people are currently committed to help.

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