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Ennis Daily News

Waiting to return

Hurricane damage displaces former Ennis resident
Of the thousands of Gulf Coast residents displaced in the wake of Hurricane Ike, many have traveled north and are making do, while they continue to wait for clean up efforts to be completed.
Former Ennis resident Teresa Harris and her family are among those waiting for their lives to get back to normal and the chance to go home.
Harris lives on the northern side of Houston in a community called Spring and residents in her area were asked to stay put so others in the path of the storm could make their escape and take their families to safety.
“We were never told it was going to be as bad as it was,” she said. “Our part of the city was told to just stay put and hunker down so others could reach safety,” she said. “I don’t think anyone took into consideration that the people that were told to stay behind would not have any means to leave after the storm was over.”
Harris was cautioned by a friend to fill her truck with gas and to get bags of ice. Until the electricity went out and she was left with three hungry kids and family pets to feed, she was fine with not evacuating, but she witnessed how others were not so fortunate.
“People started stockpiling stuff on Thursday and by the end of the day, shelves were bare,” she said. “My truck was full of gas and I loaded what food I could save in it, plus the kids and the pets and we headed north, but a lot of people were stuck because they didn’t get gas and there is no place to get gas in the city. When we left Houston, I drove north for 100 miles before I saw any lights on and any gas stations open.”
While Harris was fortunate to only have lost her fence along with her electricity, she saw the aftermath of Ike and others who had been harder hit.
“The roads were lined with debris and you could only drive a short distance before coming to a tree laying across the road, so we had to turn around and find another route,” she said. “Downtown was full of broken glass and it looked like a movie set with no one around it.”
The state of her home is not what worries Harris the most, it is when life will get back to normal so her kids can go back to school and she can buy the necessities they need to survive.
“When I left there was nothing open,” she said. “I had no way to get food or water for the kids, or to cook food if I did find any and also no way to stay cool. I don’t want to bring them home until we have what we need to survive. I know they are missing a lot of school, but so is everyone else and the school district hasn’t announced their plans yet so until they do, I guess the boys will have an extended holiday.”
Harris also noted that when she left on Sunday, she hadn’t seen any FEMA representatives but spoke with the local police officers when she tried to purchase a generator at Home Depot.
“There were probably 200 people lined up outside waiting for truckloads of generators to be bought in and the police were there to make sure everything ran smoothly,” she said. “I don’t envy their job and I’m sure it will just get more demanding in the upcoming weeks.”

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Posted by on Sep 19 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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