Hurricane Ike Evacuee Coverage from San Antonio

Over the last two days I’ve been covering Hurricane Ike evacuees for the Associated Press, at the Port San Antonio shelter. It used to be Lackland AFB, but now apparently it’s called Port San Antonio, which I found out Monday. I had no idea, and I don’t know why they called it that, as SA is landlocked.

I did get some decent photos there, however. All of these people lost everything when their homes were destroyed by Hurricane Ike (view full size at http://darren.uber.com for best quality).

A woman waits for family with her great-grandson.
A woman waits for family with her great-grandson.
Evacuees wait for a bus that will take them to a hotel.
Evacuees wait for a bus that will take them to a hotel.

This was a huge facility. Press wasn’t allowed inside the building, but it looked from the outside like it was once a warehouse. Lots of people inside and outside as well. None of them were in very good moods, but they were all anxious to talk to me. It was obvious they were all itching to tell their stories to someone. Unfortunately, they were mostly the same story: total loss of home and property.

Evacuees wait for a family member to drive from Austin to pick them up.
Evacuees wait for a family member to drive from Austin to pick them up.
Brothers Eric and David look after a friend's daughter until she returns.
Brothers Eric and David look after a friend’s daughter until she returns.

These folks told me a story about how the water came in so fast that it literally covered the peninsula they live on. Oddly, the storm surge came in when the hurricane was still far out to sea. They said that the weather was nice and sunny while their land was disappearing. They were picked up and flown out by the Alabama National Guard, in Blackhawk helicopters.

Evacuees from Gilchrist wait at the shelter.
Evacuees from Gilchrist wait at the shelter.
A shelter worker holds up a sign announcing available transport to Victoria
A shelter worker holds up a sign announcing available transport to Victoria

No-one could really give us an official count of how many evacuees were in the shelter, but the average opinion seemed to hover around 6,000 – 7,000 people. A worker told us today that he heard they were supposed to receive about 13,000 more in the next couple days.

I discovered that FEMA officials don’t like being photographed, and will bob and weave to stay out of my view. 🙂

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~ by peakaction on September 17, 2008.

One Response to “Hurricane Ike Evacuee Coverage from San Antonio”

  1. Why haven’t these been provided? http://www.outfittogo.org I found this on the web searching disaster info. Your pictures are great.

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