Island Residents Return to Horrible Smell

Residents of Galveston Island are allowed to return more than a week after fleeing Hurricane Ike. For many, it was their first time to see the damage done. Pat Hernandez caught up with some of them.

The constant sound of water pumps was heard all over the island as many homes were locked and boarded up. Galveston’s East End near the historial district is lined with structures built before the 1900 storm. Charlene Winklemann made up her mind to stay and hunker down.

“Yeah. If you didn’t…everybody couldn’t take their pets, they would have died, or like the ones where the SPCA was kicking the door in after they’d been locked up a week.
Hernandez: “How many pets were you caring for?”
Winklemann: “Nine dogs and sixteen bids.”
Hernandez: “They all survived?”
Winklemann: “They all survived, but see, I got dog food and pet before I got people food.”

image of galveston house cleanupA few blocks down, the Moore family returned from Houston. Thomas Moore immediatley began his assessmant.

“When I come in, It was a horrible smell. We got all the back doors open and the patio doors. But, when I looked at the doors, they buckled from the surge of that water, see how that door is buckled? That’s going to have to be replaced.”

Power had just been restored to allow Moore’s wife Diane and her mother Florence to get to work.

Hernandez: “You’re on a first name basis with the insurance?”
Florence Moore: “Well, actually I did not have flood insurance, but I still feel like if I had been paying for flood insurance all that time, and nothing happened, I would have paid out as much in premiums.”
Diane Moore: “And, especially after Katrina and Rita, the insurance rates went up. The insurance company that my mother was using just dropped everybody.”

The Moores say they are taking it day by day.

image of Laura Kahn taking out her trashMedical student Laura Kahn was away in New York well before Ike hit and did not prepare her house.

“So, everything was downstairs, ready to be flooded, and by the time we realized it was going to be a direct hit for Galveston, it was too late for my parents who live in Houston to come down and do anything to the house.”

But Kahn, like many residents, say they will return.

“I love living here, I love the neighborhood, you know, obviously we want to be able to recover from this tragic mess and just hope for the best from here.”

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.