Texas Coast Faces Massive Recovery After Hurricane Ike

After the storm had passed, rescue operations to reach those affected by Hurricane Ike finally began on Monday to survey the damage and evacuate survivors.

More than two days after Hurricane Ike slammed the Gulf Coast, rescuers flew for the first time Monday into areas cut off by the storm and found a scene of devastation, with whole subdivisions obliterated, and began evacuating survivors.

A Texas helicopter task force flew 115 rescuers onto the heavily damaged resort barrier island of Bolivar Peninsula, just east of hard-hit Galveston. Task force leader Chuck Jones said they were the first rescuers to reach the area that is home to about 30,000 people in the peak summer beach season.

“They had a lot of devastation over there,” Jones said. “It took a direct hit.”

In less than two weeks, the Hurricane wrought massive devastation across several countries. View a slideshow of images from Hurricane Ike here.

In its brief lifespan of only 13 days, Hurricane Ike wreaked great deal of havoc. Affecting several countries including Cuba, Haiti, and the United States, Ike is blamed for approximately 114 deaths (74 in Haiti alone), and damages that are still being tallied, with estimates topping $10 billion. Many shoreline communities of Galveston, Texas were wiped from the map by the winds, storm surge and the walls of debris pushed along by Ike – though Galveston was spared the level of disaster it suffered in 1900.

Nevertheless, local food banks in some of the hardest hit areas are now finding themselves unable to provide assistance to local residents:

Update: Sept. 15 – Capital Area Food Bank of Texas is now desperate.  As of 2:00 p.m. they can no longer fulfill donations of food boxes.  As of 3:00 p.m. their donations are depleted.  Please help! A $5 donation = $20 worth of food and necessities distributed by by the food bank. They have also added dog food and personal care items to their list of most needed donations (see above).

All told, the hurricane could cost insurers anywhere from $8 to $18 billion as a result of the extensive and far-reaching damage.

Hurricane Ike, which ravaged densely populated parts of Texas over the weekend, could cost insurance companies between $8 billion and $18 billion, according to estimates. 

The powerful Category 2 hurricane likely caused extensive damage to structures in coastal regions and high rises, Risk Management Solutions said in a press release on Sunday. 

Many properties in Galveston, which was the major coastal city that sustained Ike’s most severe blows, “are insured through the state of Texas,” Robert P. Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, told FOX Business on Monday.  “In extreme coastal areas, you might see less private-sector involvement than you might think.”

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