Thousands Rescued from Ike's Rubble

by Jay Gray
NBC News

GALVESTON - The slow and difficult work of recovery is starting now all along the Gulf Coast.

Ike left behind billions of dollars in damage and wiped away entire communities.
On Galveston Island, thousands of homes have been ripped away by the wind or washed away by the storm surge.

When you are dealing with devastation like this it is difficult to know where to begin.
Slowly the shock is giving way in Galveston to the reality of what Ike has left behind.
"We're about it in Galveston, the east ends gone, the west ends gone, Bolivar Peninsula is gone," said resident Phil Barritt.

Much of the island looks like a jigsaw puzzle.

The pieces scattered for miles and none of them coming together right now.

"Very clear that recovery from Ike is going to be a long process," said Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Long and difficult.
Kenneth Click's home used to be on the water.

What's left of his boat now rests along Interstate 45.

"Just trying to gather what I can out of it," said Click.
But sorting through what little is left of his life before Ike is still better than the last three days.

"The anxiety was killing me last 2-3 days. I had to get out here, and when I did. I broke down.  It's tough," said Click.

It is a fine line for survivors in the strike zone.

For the tens-of-thousands who left before the storm there is a clear message.

"There's nothing to come here for," said Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas.

For those left behind,

"Please leave, I'm asking," said Thomas.

Thousands are taking buses to shelters in San Antonio.

Statewide there are still at least 37,000 evacuees in close to 300 mass shelters.

Many of those with nothing left to go home to after Ike.
The recovery process is going to be difficult for so many.

On Monday, the Governor of Texas asked President Bush for the same help he gave New Orleans after Katrina.

The President will tour the devastation Tuesday.