Saturday, September 24, 2005

Texas had its own evacuation issues

So it turns out that Houston has poor people after all. When the threat of Hurricane Rita came, homeless shelters were closed or full. At the last minute, the Red Cross and some schools opened shelters, but city officials did not announce the openings because they didn't want to shelters to be overwhelmed by a rush of people other than the homeless. They thought it was best for the police and emergency workers to direct people to the shelters.

This may or may not have been a sensible decison, but one wonders about the city's decision to have homeless people call hotlines to find ways to evacuate. Note to Houston officials: Homeless people have no land lines because they do not have houses. They have no cell phones because they have no money. They cannot use shelter phones when all of the shelters are full or closed.

Houston did open Barnett Field House to evacuees in cars who were unable to go anywhere because of the horrendous traffic jams caused by attempted evacuation from the city. (To the city's credit, pets were allowed in this shelter.) And those who did spend hours on the highway ("Road to Nowhere" keeps playing in my head) sitting still and running out of gas decided they weren't going to let Mother Nature win the destructive behavior award--they tossed who knows how many pounds of trash out the window or left it on the side of the road (thanks to What Do I Know? for this information).

The conclusions to be drawn are that governments are not prepared to evacuate and/or protect large numbers of people, and that during crises (just like during everyday life), a lot of people act like the buttholes they are.

Which reminds me: Yo, Kathy--about that omelet all over your smug face--better get out a Texas-sized washcloth. You missed a spot.

6 Comments:

Kathy Walt=my name plus my brother's. Weird seeing that.

Great job you're doing, despite the technical difficulties.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:46 AM  

That is strange.

Thanks, Kathy.

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