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Houston Death Toll “A small, small number” September 28, 2005

Posted by Leita in Hurricane.
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The number of Rita-related deaths is an estimated 31 today, according to the Houston Chronicle, not counting the 23 nursing home evacuees who died in a bus fire in Dallas County.

Beverly Begay, chief investigator of the Harris County medical examiner’s office, explained the death toll in her skewed perspective:

“Considering around 2.8 million people evacuated within a short amount of time, this is a relatively small, small number,” Begay said.

No, no, it is not.

Traffic in Harris County gridlocks on a normal workday, common knowledge to everyone in and around Houston. In Galveston there are three routes off the island but I-45 North toward Houston was the only FEMA approved evacuation route. The other two were not mentioned, either would have taken drivers out of the area without the need to travel through Houston.

More about this here and here.

In a sick replay of Hurricane Katrina, government officials gloated over their well-planned hurricane response days before Rita made landfall. Now they claim it wasn’t so bad afterall. I doubt the people who waited in 100-degree heat agree nor do I believe the families grieving over their dead think it was a success.

All this while people in remote areas of Texas and Louisiana continue to wait for rescue. I am tired of pointing fingers; it is not in my nature. But Katrina v.2.0 makes it impossible not to feel an impotent anger that will not subside until the officials responsible can prove they really do give a damn.

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