September 02, 2005
More Katrina

From the comments:

The Westchase Business District is having a relief drive today from 11 to 2. They're looking for the usual stuff: "Current short term needs include: Poptarts, cereal bars, peanut butter, jelly, 1 lb. packages of lunch meat, canned meats, spaghetti, chili, stew (anything that can be warmed in a microwave), canned fruits, cereal, and crackers. Snacks for children are also welcome."

Donations are being taken at West Houston Assistance Ministries, located at the corner of Meadowglen and Rogerdale (one block east of the Beltway, just south of Westheimer). A typical busy day has 30 families and 60 individuals seeking assistance from WHAM; one day this week, they had 271 individuals and 77 families.

If you can't make it there between 11 and 2 or want to volunteer, you can contact WHAM: call Louise (713-977-5522) or Virginia (281-974-6064).

I'm going to be dropping stuff off at the Houston Food Bank today and looking for a place to drop off some baby clothes Olivia has outgrown - after checking here, I'll try the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store on Washington Ave.

The Lone Star Times is blogging from the Dome. Do read this entry if nothing else. It took me a couple of tries to connect to their site today, so they may be experiencing a high traffic load. Here Rob notes something from this Chron story with the headline "Some Houstonians question welcome-mat effort" - the "question" highlighted came not from a blogger but from a commenter. With that, I'll point out the first comment on this SciGuy post, which reports a dispatch from a local doctor in New Orleans. Here's the comment:

I feel sorry for the conditions that people who are trying to help are experiencing. Do I feel sorry for the people they are trying to help? NO. They ignored a government ordered evacuation and now they are screaming and demanding the goverment do something for them. What ever happened to personal responsibility? They should have left when told to do so, because they did not they put themselves in this horrible situation and have no right to demand anything at this point.

Posted by: Kathy Hoffman at September 2, 2005 09:07 AM

I don't know who Kathy Hoffman is, but apparently she lives in a world where everyone has a car and the financial wherewithal to leave town unexpectedly for at least a few days if a friendly doorstop in a safe and reachable place isn't available. How it is that Kathy Hoffman could still be living in that world after all we've learned about the Katrina refugees is beyond me.

Here's the latest from the DomeBlog. They may need to expand that focus, since evacuees are now being placed in the Relaiant Center and George R. Brown Convention Center.

Nearly 13,000 evacuees from New Orleans filled Reliant Astrodome by early this morning, with officials saying the facility was full. But buses from New Orleans kept coming, and arrangements were made to place them in nearby Reliant Arena.

Officials said they expect as many as 18,000 people to be sheltered in the Reliant Park complex by noon today.

That included about 1,750 who arrived on about 35 buses and who were initially told they would be turned away.

More buses showed up this morning, and remain parked outside the Astrodome. Although many people are being allowed off the buses and are standing in lines outside Reliant Arena, many remain on the buses.

Volunteers who pull into the parking lot to deliver supplies -- such as soap, towels and other items for personal hygiene -- are being mobbed by small crowds of evacuees.

The number in the Astrodome is about half of the estimated 25,000 relief officials said would be sheltered in that building. Officials early this morning would not say whether they would still be able to accommodate that many.

More will be headed to Dallas:

At least 25,000 Hurricane Katrina refugees from Louisiana will begin relocating here Saturday, state and local officials confirmed Thursday evening.

City and county leaders scrambled to find suitable shelter for such an influx of storm victims, who they expected to arrive primarily by bus and plane.

Reunion Arena and a 200,000-square-foot portion of the Dallas Convention Center, both downtown, could house as many as 12,000 people, City Manager Mary Suhm said.

But Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher said she's asking leaders of neighboring counties to help shelter refugees, as Ms. Suhm acknowledged Dallas probably will need help to absorb a population equal to that of University Park or Farmers Branch.

"We don't have all the answers yet, but we're going to be ready," Judge Keliher said.

After agreeing to house 25,000 refugees at the Astrodome and other Houston locations Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry was asked by Louisiana officials Thursday morning to take 25,000 more, and then a few hours later an additional 25,000 for a total of 75,000 displaced residents who will move to Texas.

"We were asked this morning to take 25,000 more, and we said yes we would. San Antonio was our first choice because of the I-10 corridor, making it easier to transport people there," said Robert Black, a spokesman for the governor.

"Then they contacted us again this afternoon and asked us to take another 25,000. The next logical place in the state was Dallas. Both San Antonio and Dallas made sense because of their infrastructure and because they have the personnel to handle an emergency situation such as this," he said.

"We believe they have the necessary resources to draw upon."


Juan Ortiz, emergency management coordinator for Fort Worth and Tarrant County, said he hasn't heard from the state or the city of Dallas about a specific number of refugees North Texas is expected to handle.

Taking care of 25,000 people, however, would have to be a regional effort, he said.

"We're assuming that no one city could do that alone, not Dallas and not Fort Worth" Mr. Ortiz said.

He said Tarrant County shelters and a few motels were housing 541 refugees by early Thursday night. He wasn't sure how many evacuees Tarrant County could handle on its own.

I certainly hope that counties like Collin and Denton will do their fair share.

Tom and Loren assess the financial impact of Katrina. Whatever people are estimating for the costs now, expect it to be a lot more when all is said and done.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 02, 2005 to Hurricane Katrina | TrackBack

Re Kathy Hoffman: my mother was telling me about some of the chatter she heard on talk radio yesterday afternoon that reflected those same callous sentiments. The worst part of it (which David Brooks hit on in his column yesterday) is the subtle racial undercurrent to complaints about "those people" - that the reason some (black) people have nothing is because of some fault of their own.

I hope this city is better than that, especially as the long-term consequences of Katrina start to sink in. Perhaps the public mood will trend the other way, towards recognizing the extent of the damage poor African-American communities are suffering because government decided that big tax cuts were more important, and that we must do everything to insure something this catastrophic never happens again.

Here's hope.

I'm planning on attending training at Second Baptist tommorrow for meal preparation at the Astrodome. If anyone knows of any other concrete volunteer opportunities Saturday morning, please let me know at

Posted by: RMG on September 2, 2005 2:20 PM

Second Baptist is putting out a call for hygeine packs to be distributed to the refugees.

Operation Compassion: Action Needed by 3 PM Today!

By 3:00 PM today, we need to collect 4,000 personal hygiene packs. Using a gallon sized zip-loc bag , please assemble the following items:

1. Toothbrush and regular sized toothpaste
2. Deodorant
3. Soap
4. Shampoo
5. Wet Wipes / Travel pack

Please drop off these packs at the following locations:

Woodway Campus: Atrium
West Campus: North and South Lobbies
North Campus: A Building North Entrance

Posted by: Cid on September 2, 2005 3:16 PM