Hurricane Ike Slams Galveston

by Jay Gray

NBC News

GALVESTON - A day after Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast, residents left trapped by the storm struggle to survive.  On Galveston Island, thousands who did not head warnings to evacuate are now trying to escape as conditions there begin to deteriorate.

Mounds of debris and rubble have replaced the dunes along the coast.

Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas says, "Galveston got hit hard."

There is little left on this island, no water, to power, no gas no groceries.

But perhaps most devastating, many of the survivors are now running out of hope.

Galveston resident Buffy Portworth says, "we lost everything, got our kids, but I'm scared."

That fear is pushing hundreds who refused to evacuate before the storm to try and escape now.  Buses lined up to shuttle them to safety. For some it will be a one way trip.

Galveston resident Javon Collomore says, "I've lived here 55 years and this was the worst that has ever happend, so yea, its time to go."

Those who will stay, wait in lines more than a mile long for water, ice, and military rations.  Strike teams continue the largest search and rescue operation in the states history.

Jack Colley of the Texas Division of Emergency Management says, "there's not a square foot of Galveston Island, and for that matter southeast Texas, that will not be searched and where people are found, rescued."

Already more than 2,000 people have been pulled to safety but officials fear there are more still waiting for help along the Gulf Coast.

50 miles inland crews in downtown Houston finish the work that Ike began.

It will likely be weeks before the Nation's fourth largest city is up and running and years before the region recovers fully from Ike.