Harris County officials say the Houston region has sustained significant damages from Hurricane Ike. County Judge Ed Emmett says that more than 4,000 people have called 9-1-1 for emergency help. That’s more than 100-times the normal call volume for a 24 hour period. Emmett also says nearly the entire region is without electricity.
“Centerpoint Energy reports that virtually the entire Houston area with service provided through above ground lines is without electricity. The Medical Center– at last check– and much of Downtown Houston are not experiencing black-outs because there transmission lines are under ground. Obviously, that can change from moment-to-moment.”
Officials here at TransStar still don’t know exactly how much damage there is overall. One thing Emmett says they are worried about is safe drinking water.
“We want to make sure of one thing: there’s a request that everyone conserve water. Use bottle water at all possible, because we do want to focus on the water supply to make sure that it remains safe. There is no danger at this time that we know of, but just as a precaution Mayor White has asked me to make that statement: to ask everybody to conserve water and to use bottle water.”
Preparations are on underway to set up shelters as soon as possible. Emergency responders and FEMA officials are also on standby to deploy throughout the region. And Emmett says the aftermath of Ike will be when Houstonians are most needed to help the city return to normal.
“This is a tremendous area. We have wonderful, caring people and I know that the neighbors, everybody’s going to take care of each other. And so With that, let’s finish riding out the storm and this afternoon we’ll assess the damage and we’ll make sure the assets, resources get where they need to be.”
In the meantime, residents who do have phone service can call 713-881-3100 to report structural damage, debris blocking roads, or downed power lines.
Reporting from TransStar, Laurie Johnson. KUHF- Houston Public Radio.