Surveying The Hurricane's Aftermath

Houston and Baytown, Texas, were severely damaged by Hurricane Ike.

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JACKI LYDEN, host:

Let's move on to NPR's Carrie Kahn. She is in Baytown, Texas. Tell us just where that is, please, Carrie?

CARRIE KAHN: Baytown is about 40 miles north of Gavleston. You go up to the top of Gavleston bay, and there's where we are in Baytown. We just left the marina, and it was a horrendous site, Jacki. There was a full-fledged marina there right at the interstate, and pylons have disappeared, and the boats, there were dozens of them, seem to have been slammed against the roadway and almost up to the highway. They were stacked like matchsticks, just one right on top of the other. People were down there trying to salvage whatever they could from their boats, and the police had the whole area cordoned off. And it's just a disaster out there.

LYDEN: NPR's Carrie Kahn in Baytown, Texas. Thanks very much, Carrie.

KAHN: You're welcome, Jacki.

LYDEN: NPR's Ari Shapiro is in Houston. Ari, I understand you tried to get to Galveston this morning. What happened?

ARI SHAPIRO: Well, it was a scene like nothing I've ever witnessed before. On the interstate heading toward Galveston, there were piles and piles of boats, debris from people's homes, refrigerators, you name it covering the interstate so that, going south, it was just impassable.

And some people who live in Galveston and the surrounding areas were kind of walking around trying to get a glimpse of their house, trying to see how much damage there was. If they couldn't see their house, they were looking at the neighborhoods around theirs. So, you know, I talked to a few of them about what they were going through, and actually, the clip you played at the very top of this was from one of them, Dustin Rhodes (ph). And he was telling me, we're just really hoping the second story of our house is OK.

LYDEN: Ari, were these the people who were supposed to evacuate?

SHAPIRO: Yeah, well, and this guy, Dustin Rhodes, did. I mean, the people I was talking to were all on the north side of the debris, and so they were trying to get back, and they were unable to.

LYDEN: I see.

SHAPIRO: So he's simultaneously worried about his home. He said, you know, I just assume that the first floor is more or less washed out. He was joking that, in the debris on the interstate, he might find his refrigerator. He was just hoping that the second floor would be in good shape.

And then, beyond his home, he was telling me he makes a living working on a shrimping boat in the gulf. And he's worried that the boat might be smashed to bits. It's a boat worth, roughly, 100,000 dollars. So his boss could be financially ruined if the boat was smashed. Even if the boat is intact, he's worried he might not get out shrimping for another week or so, which would mean his income, his livelihood, would be severely damaged by this storm, even if the boat has survived. And if the boat hasn't, then, of course, he could have been just totally out of a job.

LYDEN: Well, obviously, people don't even know what to expect yet. They're just picking up the pieces.

SHAPIRO: That's right. And I also met people whose family members were on the other side of the debris in Galveston. People were unable to get in touch with them. You know, they were worried. They were desperate. And as the days and hours go on, hopefully we'll be hearing more and more from the people who did decide to ride it out on those islands, and, hopefully, all of them made it through safely.

LYDEN: NPR's Ari Shapiro speaking to us from Houston. Thanks very much, Ari.

SHAPIRO: You're welcome.

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