My heart goes out to everyone trying to get back to normal in Texas today. This is the worst part of a hurricane - the aftermath that will play out over the next 3 months.
I wrote about some of the mundane, but very real issues of living in the cone of uncertainty after the storm blows by. I'm going to continue this theme today.
48 Hours Post Ike - Reality Sets In. Texas, You're On Your Own.
Here's Chertoff on the FEMA supply side of things:
This is not about a screw up.
He's doing a heckuva job, isn't he?
BushCo has learned a thing or two about how to handle a hurricane, keeping a lid on the media is at the top of his current hurricane preparation list. That's what we're here for. We need to keep BushCo's feet to the fire and not let up. Texas is counting on us.
Update 1 and 1/2: It's pretty obvious that the No Fly Zone is a BushCo attempt to control when the images of the devastation appear. Maybe they want Gallup to complete their poll of most likely voters first? I don't think they can keep these images off the screen until the election.
I've been here and done this.
At first you are so busy taking care of stuff that you don't notice there aren't any public services. You hear sirens, but you don't see police or fire fighters unless you are really bad off and even then, you probably are not going to get any help.
Again, it's 48 Hours Post Ike
It's Monday, a work day, a school day. You want to go to work, school....anywhere cool, but you can't. It's impossible. You can assume school's been called off - no buses showed up. In fact, it seems like the world has been called off. Communicating with your co-workers is a joke. Today, two days later is when the anxiety starts to set in and "cabin fever" breaks out. You are hot. You are sweaty immediately after your shower.
So here's another list of stuff you deal with at about this time post storm.
Public Schools, Private Schools and Day Cares
School is off and will stay off until every school in the district can open. If there is one school that can't open and they can move the students somewhere else and notify all the parents (.... which sounds like an awful mission to attempt with no phones) then you might open up all but that one school. This is probably in your HomeLand Security Plan that was sent to Chertoff's Department (that's what ours says here in Broward County, Florida).
Update 1: I forgot to mention. Your the Texas Department Children's Services might require a school to have electricity and potable water before they can reopen. (Amish might get a waiver on the electricity.)
It depends on a lot of factors.
- How prepared your employer was pre-storm - like telling you last Friday who to check with of Sunday for Monday's work schedule.
- How important your job function is to the community.
- How much of an idiot your boss is.
- How much work you can really do without power or phones.
Just keep going out in the middle of the street or up to your roof and call your supervisor and find out when you're expected back to work and tell them truthfully if you can get there.
The power is restored according to this priority mindset:
- The least amount of work that will bring on the most customers.
- The priority list seems to be fluid but hospitals, physician professional buildings, government offices and shools have greater priority than any other private establishment.
- Food stores and gas stations should be the next wave to come up, but don't count on it. Only stores who thought ahead and got generators are going to be open. Gas stations will be an issue as the week goes on and you start thinking about refilling your gas cans.
- Everyone else.
- You will be last.
By now you or someone you trust has been up there and you have an idea of the condition. It needs a blue tarp. You will find roofing is going to undergo inflation like you never believed possible over the next few weeks.
If it isn't too bad, you can get this gloppy paint (about $50 per 5 gallon container) and glop it over the shingles which will work for a few months and you can jolly that along until prices come back to normal. Chances are your insurance company will be awarding you about 1/2 of what it will cost to replace the roof under the inflated pricing that will occur over the next 18 months.
Putting in an Insurance Claim
The phone banks at your insurance company tell you that there's a 20 minute wait for the next representative. You're on the roof listening to bad muzak on your cell phone. You see your phone is running out of power and actually consider running an extension cord with your phone charger up to your roof, so you don't lose your place in the phone que.....then you remember that as soon as you go down the ladder, your going to have "no bars". Oh, I bet some variation of this is happening all over Texas today.
Well, you turn on the local news whenever you need a rest from clean up and sit down for a glass of anything cold. You are looking at Chertoff saying it isn't his fault. You're not able to read what we are doing for you at dkos (no internet). You're seeing the local news showing 4 hour lines for water and ice and do some mental calculations of when you might be forced to join that line. ....and think to yourself that you would really like to avoid that line.
As the week goes on the needs will increase. People did prepare, but things get busted up in these storms. A shutter could break, something heavy comes through the window and smashes your casees of water that were neatly stacked up against the opposing wall. You can prepare, but the storm can trash your preparations. ...and you find yourself in a line for four hours to get water or ice. Another issue is poverty. If you live from minimum wage paycheck to minimum wage paycheck dropping $150 on hurricane stuff isn't possible. Economic times are tough and some people weren't able to stock up 2 weeks of supplies.
When the storm blew by and that big, old tree down at the end of the street fell over is blocking your way out of the neighborhood. You hacked at it with your neighbors, but it's still there. Wrapping a chain around it and hooking it to a pick up truck hasn't happened yet....or the truck was too small.....or the chain/rope broke. That cul de sac looked great before you bought your house, now it seems to be somewhat of an issue.
By tomorrow, anytime now, a Burger King or KFC is going to open up and you'll see the strangest thing. It will be slammed with customers who are already tired of cold soup.
...and Chertoff is saying it's not his fault that help isn't on the way.