Latinos For Texas Blog

2005-Sep-20

Carlos Guerra - Survivor of 9 Hurricanes

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 8:47 am

Mr. Guerra sent a sober, yet funny message this morning:

Things are about to get sloshy along the Texas coast. Could be that the Gulf is going to get “the big one” two or three times this year, and one or more targets may be along the Texas coast. If a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane makes landfall 20 to 40 south of Galveston, Corpus Christi or Brownsville, water ain’t the only thing we’re going to be deep in.

I commented that as a survivor of 9 storms, he must have a story or two to share. He replied:

Let me tell you the most important story I’ve learned.

The three-worst storms I survived were Carla, Celia and Beulah.

Here’s the kicker: As memory serves, Beulah and Celia were in September. Carla was in October. Notice the letters they represent.

Fast-forward to 2005, mid-September, to be exact. With the rest of this month and all of October left in the hurricane season, we are up to Rita, the 18th named storm of a season that experts first said would produce 13 named storms and later raised their expectations to 15.

In other words, we are three over the expectations for the entire season and we still have another month and a half before the threat subsides.

All I can conclude is that this global warming stuff is real, and we’re going to lose a lot of our coast to it.

His column today reflects on the lessons of Katrina and how Texas coastline residents can prepare.

Guerra points to the words and advice of Corpus Christi warning coordination meteorologist John Metz of the National Weather Service:

“Katrina definitely changed people’s perspective on hurricanes,” Metz said. “I think the complacency may have been eroded away, and that is a good thing for Texas because, hopefully, people will now be more aware and they will heed evacuation orders.”

Since any Texas landfall by Rita is days away, Metz said, coastal residents would be wise to familiarize themselves with the alternate evacuation routes available to them so that not everyone will get on the interstate highways and choke them to a virtual standstill.

But just as important, he said, “is that people leave early instead of waiting until the last minute.”

Good luck to our brothers and sisters on the coastline. Some of us will be waiting and watching while others might be preparing for more disaster relief.

SA E-N’s Carlos Guerra: Mexicans do disaster relief better.

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 12:12 am

Before Tropical Storm Rita became a threat to the coast and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin called for another evacuation, he squabbled with the Feds over the reopening of certain parts of his city. The Washington Post reported that Coast Guard Chief of Staff and Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen, appointed by Bush as leader of the federal response, argued it was “dangerous to invite tens of thousands of people into a city with little clean water, a severely compromised sewer system, a manual 911 emergency call system and few hospitals or traffic lights.”

Meanwhile, Carlos Guerra of the San Antonio Express-News, reported:

47 Mexican military vehicles — mostly heavy trucks and 18-wheelers modified for rough terrain — rolled into KellyUSA. Because both of Mexico’s long coastlines are more hurricane-prone than our own, it has developed valuable expertise in dealing with the consequences of hurricanes. And since Mexico doesn’t invade other countries, its military focuses a lot of energy on serving its populace — and its neighbors — after disastrous calamities.

Among the 195 men and women who came are teams specialized in disaster medicine. But the Mexicans also brought the capacity to provide two basic necessities that often vanish after disasters: hot food and drinking water.

They brought two huge field kitchens, three mess tents (with tables and chairs), water treatment plants and ingredients for serving three hot meals to 7,000 people daily for 20 days. And if more is needed, Brig. Gen. Francisco Ortiz Valadez said, he will send for it.

Guerra’s column states that the general escorting the Mexican convoy explained they are under FEMA’s control and not the U.S. military and would be stationed in San Antonio. When Guerra asked FEMA’s press secretary, Christopher White, “Why wasn’t Mexico’s specialized help sent to the hurricane-battered area, where entire towns have been flattened and where 73 drinking water systems in Alabama, 555 in Mississippi and 469 in Louisiana are compromised or nonfunctional?” He promised to call back.
(more…)

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