Hurricane Ike victims awaiting help

Nov. 16, 2008 at 6:00 PM
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HOUSTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- More than two months after Hurricane Ike hit Texas's coastal communities, thousands of residents have yet to see any federal aid, local officials say.

The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday that hundreds of people are still living in tents, while others are camping in disabled cars and condemned homes.

"People's lives are literally stacked up on the side of the road," said Anahuac Mayor Guy Jackson, who has helped organize the Chambers County storm recovery efforts. "The storm surge swept their houses clear away, and they're having to fight FEMA every step of the way."

A month ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fully cover 18 more months of costly debris removal, but the agency has yet to respond to him.

For its part, FEMA says it's working to help provide housing assistance to storm victims, and to meet state leaders' requests.

"Ike created a lot of hardships that we're working very hard to try to remedy," said FEMA spokesman Simon Chabel. "I hesitate to beg patience. But know that we recognize the problems, and we're doing everything we can to get people in the best possible housing."

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