Gov. Perry Tours Hurricane Impacted Areas
Provides Update on Rescue and Relief Efforts
Gov. Rick Perry today toured by helicopter areas of the state impacted by Hurricane Rita and met with local officials to ensure their relief needs are met as swiftly as possible.
"While much of Texas escaped the brunt of Hurricane Rita, this storm has still inflicted serious damage in many parts of southeast Texas," Perry said. "The state is working overtime with local and federal partners to meet critical and immediate needs such as food, water, ice, fuel and electricity."
Perry praised local leaders for their efforts to protect citizens and assured them that the state is pouring maximum resources and personnel into the region to ensure critical needs are met as soon as possible.
"We have sent nearly 8.5 million bottles of water, thousands of pounds of food, gasoline and electric generators to impacted communities," Perry said. "Every need that is identified will be met as soon as possible"
Perry also said the magnitude of this evacuation, response and relief effort is unlike any other in American history. "Not only did we effectively move the equivalent of the entire population of Kansas in 36 hours, we are responding with unprecedented coordination to ensure that every life is preserved and protected," Perry said.
The following is an overview of the response and relief efforts as of Sunday morning.
167 water trucks containing nearly 8.5 million half-liter bottles of water, 60 ice trucks, and 17 refrigerated trucks staging in Beaumont have been or are being dispatched to impacted areas.
265 satellite phones have been delivered to ensure local officials can communicate with state and federal relief efforts.
More than 500,000 gallons of fuel have been delivered to impacted areas since Thursday, including more than 25,000 gallons dispensed directly to over 5,000 stranded motorists.
154 generators have been delivered to communities suffering power losses, with a priority given to hospitals and medical facilities.
NOTE: Entergy is asking customers in its western area north of Houston to voluntarily reduce their usage of electricity as a result of extensive hurricane damage to the company's transmission system. Additional information is available at www.entergy.com.
During the evacuation, TxDOT contra-flowed 400 miles of highway. Some 250 miles of interstate leaving Houston was contra-flowed by 1 p.m. on Thursday - a full 36 hours before the hurricane landed. This entailed placing more than 100 highway barriers and sending 1,299 troopers to the southeast part of Texas, or 35 percent of all 3,700 commissioned DPS officers statewide.
Approximately 10,000 special needs individuals from Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange area hospitals were air evacuated.
Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Emergency Management Services transported 1,215 special needs patients and 1,060 undefined needs patients. DSHS arranged transportation for more than 500 special needs patients and over 1,000 general needs patients to appropriate facilities.
Department of Aging and Disability Services is coordinating the return of more than 11,000 nursing home patients (approximately 12 percent of the total statewide nursing home population of 90,000)
Health and Human Services
More than 1,000 volunteers have registered on the DSHS Website for medical professional volunteers to provide assistance in the impacted area.
Some 250 special needs shelters were established within an 80 county region with a bed capacity of 6,000.
Over 500 hospitals and nursing homes in the affected area were assessed for their short-term needs.
DSHS has dispatched more than 25 physicians and 60 nurses to provide medical assistance to sheltered persons located at the George R. Brown Convention Center and San Antonio special needs shelter. The U.S. Army is standing up a 250-bed hospital at Kelly AFB in San Antonio.
Some 95 ambulances pre-staged at the Reliant Center are being used or are available to provide medical assistance and transportation. Another 250 ambulances from other states also have been deployed to support the evacuation.
Department of Family and Protective Services has created an online survey for families and child placement agencies to "check in" once relocated after evacuation. As of Friday, 227 survey responses have been recorded and 986 children have been accounted for.
Magnitude of this Operation
There exists no comparable evacuation effort in world history. Texas safely evacuated approximately 2.7 million people - equivalent of the population of Kansas - in harm's way in 36 hours. By comparison:
* Berlin Air Lift - evacuated 177,000 people and moved 2.3 million tons of cargo over 11 months
* Three Mile Island - 200,000 evacuated
* Chernobyl - 135,000 evacuated
Using the world's largest commercial airliner, the Boeing 747 which typically can carry 400 passengers, it would have taken 6,750 capacity flights to move 2.7 million people. There are roughly 1,000 Boeing 747s in existence, less than 15 percent of the needed capacity.