Getting Prepared For Disaster: “I thought evacuating was the answer but that was a disaster"

By Jesse Muhammad
Staff Writer

(Note: All photos taken in 2008 during the aftermath of Hurricane Ike)

HOUSTON, Texas--One year has passed since Hurricane Ike, one of the costliest in history to ever make landfall in the United States, ripped through the Gulf Coast taking lives, destroying towns, causing mass evacuations and exposing lack of preparation.

“I will be honest, I was totally unprepared for that storm”, says Greg Simpson of Northeast Houston.

Hurricane Ike struck on September 13, 2008 around 2:00am CST with winds extending 120 miles. The storm took the lives of nearly 75 persons in the U.S., 37 in Texas and close to 80 in Haiti alone. Estimated damages within the U.S. reached $24 billion. This makes it the third costliest hurricane ever preceded by Hurricanes Katrina and Andrews. International damage by Ike was a combined $32 billion in Cuba, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos

“I thought evacuating was the answer but that was a disaster. We ran out of gas on the freeway and gas stations were packed. Chaos and stress”, says Mr. Simpson

Last year at this time, Mr. Simpson found himself taking over 12 hours just to get to a city that was only 2 hours away due to congested highway traffic filled with evacuees from Galveston, Houston, and surrounding areas. His family eventually made it to Austin before returning home two weeks later once their electricity was restored.

“I was blessed to have family in another city. But people here in Houston were stuck with no lights, air, food, and other essentials for weeks. I learned from that experience we have to be more prepared as a community”, says Mr. Simpson.

Read this full report in an upcoming edition of The Final Call Newspaper

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