AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry today surveyed Hurricane Ike storm damage from the air before visiting Galveston Island and Ellington Airfield to visit with local emergency management officials.
"It's difficult to see parts of our state in this condition, but it is the current reality and we're working through a recovery operation that is massive in scale and complexity," said Gov. Perry. "People in the area need to understand that our team is working 'round the clock to restore services while people outside the area need to stay away until we have reached an acceptable level of safety."
Gov. Perry was accompanied by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Steve McCraw, Texas Director of Homeland Security. Bad weather in southeast Texas prevented the governor from visiting that area of the state today.
The top priority of the Governor's Division of Emergency Management remains search and rescue, with nearly 2,000 storm victims rescued in the course of nearly 500 missions. Restoration of utility services is being aggressively pursued at the same time.
Below is the latest update regarding Hurricane Ike damage assessments and recovery efforts:
As of 10:00 a.m. Sunday, 254 shelters were open throughout the state housing more than 37,000 evacuees. The number of evacuees utilizing shelter services fluctuates between day and night with more evacuees requiring assistance during the night.
Fifteen points of distribution (POD), staffed by Texas Military Forces, are expected to be open by midnight Sunday. FEMA is setting up PODs throughout the Houston area and the state will operate PODs set up in east Harris County.
At daybreak, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) estimated that more than 2.4 million customers were without power.
Search and rescue (SAR) efforts are ongoing. To date, 470 missions have been run and more than 500 structures have been checked for victims in need. More than 1,900 storm victims have been rescued (an estimated 394 victims via air and 1554 victims via ground and water), and more than 600 victims have been assisted without need for evacuation. A breakdown of SAR efforts via region is below:
521 medical evacuees
300 homes checked
220 rescued by boat
292 rescued at special needs facility
250 structures with light damage
125 rescues (ground and air)
16 buses are stationed in Orange to assist with continued evacuations. 9 busloads were evacuated from Orange Saturday night.