The still missing

We’ve heard of the possibility that thousands of people may be missing after Hurricane Ike, with some unknown number of them perhaps having been swept out to sea, never to be found. The good news is that far fewer people than that appear to be actually missing as of today. The bad news is that it doesn’t look like there’s much hope for those whose whereabouts are not now known.

Two weeks after Hurricane Ike swept through the Texas coast, 400 people remain missing, mostly from Galveston County, according to an analysis of calls logged to a hot line set up by the nonprofit Laura Recovery Center to assist local authorities.


About 60 of the missing lived on the Bolivar Peninsula, stripped bare by the storm surge that felled beach houses like a bomb. More than 200 were listed as missing on Galveston Island itself, according to a city-by-city analysis of the data conducted for the Houston Chronicle by Bob Walcutt, executive director of the recovery center in Friendswood.

Hot line and rescue workers hope that many people, especially on Galveston Island, will be reunited with family and friends as hurricane recovery efforts continue. More than 145 already have been located through blogs, media Web sites, Red Cross shelter lists, endless phone calls, welfare checks and sometimes dramatic rescues led by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies.

Yet disturbing tales told by survivors from Bolivar communities like Gilchrist, Crystal Beach and Port Bolivar suggest some may never return.

“There’s still lots of people who are not accounted for,” said Capt. Rod Ousley, of the State Parks & Wildlife Service, which is helping to search for survivors or bodies in remote corners of several coastal counties. “We don’t know if they got washed out to sea, or buried in the sand or in debris piles. We just keep looking until they come up … we’re just going to keep trying.”

I don’t even know what to say. I’m not sure how we went from speculating about thousands to 200, but the latter is certainly less horrible. It’s still an enormous tragedy, and reading some of the individual stories as told by the people who are looking for them doesn’t make it feel any less horrible. All you can do is hope, and celebrate any miracles that do occur.

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2 Responses to The still missing

  1. Peter Wang says:

    Before the storm hit, I told my family, “With 571,000 people living in the evacuated zones, you’ve got to figure that at least 1 out of 1,000 are at risk of dying due to misfortune or misjudgement”. So maybe 400 are missing? That’s was not bad initial guess.

  2. Traci says:



    Danielle (Dani) CHAPMAN and her two boys, Joel, and Addison CHAPMAN from Galveston, TX. Have not heard from them since Gustva. (approx. 9/3/08) I know IKE hit them hard, like everyone else. Not sure if they evacuated or went to a shelter. They live on the far west end of the island. (PAST JAMAICA BEACH in SEA ISLE extn3) 4115 Kent Drive. The garage door is a painted Texas flag. Don’t know what happened on that end of the island, haven’t seen pictures of its outcome.

    They are listed on The LAURA RECOVERY CENTER (LRC) website.

    CALL (858) 337-9850 with any info. about them and or the area
    Send info. and/or pictures: [email protected]

    GOD BLESS everyone – THANK YOU!


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