The NAACP’s Mission
The Texas Conference of the NAACP was organized to empower and protect our communities from all vestiges of racism and discrimination wherever and whenever they occur. Unfortunately, even when disasters strike we are reminded that the racism and discrimination that we have seen and lived through does not take a holiday. We are determined to advocate even more diligently in these situations to make sure that benefits and care due our communities as a result of their hard work and contributions, are distributed fairly and equitably until their lives are restored to some form of normalcy.
Scope of Damage
Hurricane Ike made landfall early Saturday morning, 9/13/2008, as a category 2 hurricane… Galveston received a direct hit and the storm moved through Houston and throughout East Texas. Rainfall totals in some areas reached 10 inches or more. The storm surge caused massive damage along the upper Texas Gulf Coast. Galveston was nearly completely evacuated, along with Orange, Beaumont, and smaller nearby communities. There were basically four types of evacuation. 1) Mandatory state run evacuation of special needs citizens. They were taken earlier last week to shelters in Houston, San Antonio, Tyler Dallas/Ft Worth Airport, El Paso, Lubbock, Amarillo, and San Angelo. 2) Voluntary evacuation by motorist who had the resources to drive themselves to areas where there were either shelters established or hotels available. 3). Evacuees who responded to officials declaration for mandatory evacuation and they were moved by buses to state sponsored shelters. 4) Those citizens who rode the storm out only to find themselves in the midst of destruction and no resources
Search and Rescue
Search and Rescue operations have been going on since Saturday morning and will continue for about a week by several state and federal agencies.
Texas Disaster Network
The disaster network in Texas consists of several state and federal agencies including the Alamo Area Regional Command, Texas Forest Service, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Service, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Railroad Commission, Office of Attorney General, Texas Department of Insurance.
Texas NAACP Plan
Agreement with American Red Cross
The NAACP has a longstanding agreement with the American Red Cross to assist each other in responding to disasters in this country. Many of the shelters in this operation will be created by the American Red Cross. We have had lengthy discussions with the Red Cross concerning this operation and have strengthened our agreement. The National Office has developed credentials for all NAACP workers to gain access to the Red Cross Shelters. Many of our members have been trained by Red Cross to provide Mass Care and other services. We encourage you to make yourselves available for appropriate Red Cross operations.
Many of the shelters in this operation were established by churches and community leaders especially in the areas hit hardest by the storm. These shelters need support from the association, also. Some of them are receiving PODs, (point of delivery) services … food, water, and ice. But several of these shelters are not aware of the process of getting assistance… If you find shelters such as these in your area, place call the state hotline number and we will try to get some supplies and food to those shelters. The 211 system is still disseminating information regarding shelters and their location. You can also find out when evacuees will be allowed to return home through the 211 system. The State Shelter Network number is (214) 653-7629. We will try to keep all units updated on shelter locations and closures.
The immediate goal of State Operations and FEMA is to get people out of the shelters as soon as possible and to get them into transitional housing. FEMA has been trying to expedite the processing of these claims in several ways. They have already begun to open “FEMA HOTELS” in areas of the state where there are lots of evacuee FEMA Claims are being processed for evacuees who prove place of residency in affected areas ( those areas declared disaster areas by declaration # FEMA-1791-DR) Counties included are Angelina, Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Walker, Waller, and Washington Counties.
In order to effectively execute the NAACP mission, we need to actively visit and interact with the evacuees. We need information about the shelters so we encourage you to:
1) Get information on the size of the shelter
2) Get the physical location of the shelter
3) Get information on the type of shelter that it is, if it’s for sleeping, feeding, special needs, animals, etc.
4) Get an ethnic breakdown of the evacuees (percentage)
5) Get an age breakdown
6) Do an in depth inspection of the operations of the shelter to determine if all the needs of the evacuees are being met
7) Determine is your local branch or the state conference can meet some of those needs.
Coordination of Activities and Complaints
All issues regarding Red Cross relations, health and safety, special needs, etc., should be referred to Carol Moore, (713) 682-5071. Issues in the Galveston, Orange, Port Arthur, Beaumont area and issues concerning early voting should contact Shirley Faniel at (409) 935-6175. Issues involving other State agencies and response issues contact Gene Collins, (432) 333-1161. If you are unable to reach any of these people, contact Yannis at (254) 371-5790. Information that needs to be shared with the rest of the state should be sent to Linda Lydia (214) 674-5887.
A Situation Report has been prepared by the Texas Governor’s Office daily since a week before the Hurricane. You may access this report by going to: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/sitrepindex.htm.
You will be able to get a broader since of the Texas Operation by going to this report and highlighting things within the report that pertain to your situation.
Attorney General’s Commitment
The office of the Attorney General has provided a Hot Line for reporting all forms of gouging; from price gouging of fuel to other necessities such as groceries, clothing, medical supplies, lodging, and repair work during these crisis times. The number is 1-800-2528011. Complaints can also be made on-line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the OAG website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.state.tx.us. The Attorney General’s Office will also make available the names of sex offenders who may enter one the shelters.
Property Damage Insurance
The Texas Department of Insurance has a toll free Consumer Help Line (1-800-252-3439). You can go to their website and download a list of all property insurance carriers that operate in Texas along with their too-free claim office numbers. Their website can be accessed at www.tdi.us/consumer/storms/cpmhurrike.html.
It is very important for the Texas NAACP to speak with one voice. State President Bledsoe has issued several press releases concerning this operation that each of you should have. However, most local media outlets want to put a local spin on activities. If you are interviewed, please be familiar with President Bledsoe’s release, our mission statement, and this document. If you need assistance with this before you are interviewed, please call the hotline.
The real Texas plan is for each of you to do what you do best, stand in the gap and do what you feel is necessary to help you fellow man during this time of need and nobody does it better than we do. I know that God will bless our efforts and each and every one of us for doing our part.
Gene O. Collins
Co-Chair, Texas NAACP Disaster Committee