Hurricane Ike takes aim at South Texas

With Hurricane Ike steaming into the Gulf of Mexico, Texas emergency officials Tuesday stood ready to order 1 million people evacuated from the impoverished Rio Grande Valley and tried to convince tens of thousands of illegal immigrants that they have less to fear from the Border Patrol than from the storm.

Emergency planning officials were meeting all day to decide if and when to announce a mandatory evacuation for coastal counties close to the Mexican border, reported BBC.

With forecasts showing Ike blowing ashore this weekend, authorities lined up nearly 1,000 buses in case they are needed to move out the many poor and elderly people who have no cars.

Federal authorities gave assurances they would not check people's immigration status at evacuation loading zones or inland checkpoints. But residents were skeptical, and there were worries that many illegal immigrants would refuse to board buses and go to shelters for fear of getting arrested and deported.

"People are nervous," said the Rev. Michael Seifert, a Roman Catholic priest and immigrant advocate. "The message that was given to me was that it's going to be a real problem."

One reason for the skepticism: Back in May, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the Border Patrol would do nothing to impede an evacuation in the event of a hurricane. But when Hurricane Dolly struck the Rio Grande Valley in late July, no mandatory evacuation was ordered, and as a result the Border Patrol kept its checkpoints open. Agents soon caught a van load of illegal immigrants.

It would be the first mandatory large-scale evacuation in South Texas history. State and county officials let people decide for themselves whether to leave a hurricane area until just before Hurricane Rita struck the Gulf Coast in 2005. Now county officials can order people out of harm's way.

Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas said if an evacuation is ordered this time, county officials will visit immigrant neighborhoods and forcefully urge people to clear out.

After Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, "there were a lot of immigrants who said, `I'm not going to go,'" said Salinas, the county's top elected official. "It's going to be hard."

In Washington, Rear Adm. W. Craig Vanderwagen, assistant U.S. health secretary for preparedness and response, told reporters: "In storm events, if people are trapped it doesn't particularly matter to those of us in the humanitarian assistance world which side of that border they come from. We will do what we need to do to evacuate the people who need to be evacuated."

At 5 p.m. EDT, Ike was about 90 miles southwest of Havana, Cuba, moving northwest at 10 mph with sustained winds near 75 mph. It was expected to cross the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening to a Category 3 with winds of up to 130 mph.

Forecasters said that it could hit on Saturday morning just about anywhere along the Texas coast, with the most likely spot close to the Corpus Christi area.

Areas from Matagorda Bay to Corpus Christi and south to Brownsville ї about 250 miles of coastline ї were told to prepare for possible mandatory evacuation.

On Tuesday, Ike roared across Cuba, ravaging homes, killing at least four people and forcing 1.2 million to evacuate.

The Rio Grande Valley is still soggy from Dolly, which flooded the region, damaging hundreds of homes but killing no one. Many homes still have blue tarps on their roofs.

The Rio Grande Valley's residents are among those least equipped to handle hurricane flooding. It is one of the poorest parts of the country, with one-third of all families living below the poverty line, compared with 10 percent nationally.

Colonias, or ramshackle communities often lacking sewer systems and paved streets, dot the Valley. Even an ordinary rainstorm can fill yards with disease-ridden sewage from flooded septic tanks. Many of the poor lack health insurance.

Mexican officials said more than a dozen dams in the northern state of Chihuahua were at capacity or spilling over, heightening fears of flooding on the American side of the border.

Gov. Rick Perry declared 88 coastal counties disaster areas Monday to start the flow of state aid, and began preparing for an evacuation, lining up "buses rather than body bags."

The Dallas-Fort Worth area sheltered about 3,000 Hurricane Gustav evacuees last week and is prepared for up to about 20,000 people this time, said Steve Griggs, a county official. The downtown convention center would again serve as the main shelter.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Kazakhstan-based Nostrum unveils oil production indicators for 2021
Kazakhstan-based Nostrum unveils oil production indicators for 2021
Romanian energy minister to visit Azerbaijan
Romanian energy minister to visit Azerbaijan
Georgia’s imports of oil products from Kazakhstan plummet
Georgia’s imports of oil products from Kazakhstan plummet
Loading Bars
Latest
UN thanks Azerbaijan for contributions to budget of organization
Residents of Bina settlement express gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva for establishment of Training and Service Complex (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Russia expands retaliatory list of EU representatives banned from entering country — MFA
Ten injured after bridge collapses in U.S. city Pittsburgh
Iran deal talks are adjourned until next week — EU
Erdogan to visit Ukraine on Feb 3 as part of mediation efforts
Germany's exports to UK continue to decline in 2021: Destatis
Azerbaijan's Agency for State Support to NGOs, Turkey's Ministry of Interior sign memorandum of co-op (PHOTO)
Embassy of India organised Blood Donation Drive (PHOTO)
Tractor hits mine in Azerbaijan's Fuzuli district
Uzbek Central Bank notes growth in volume of loans issued to individuals
Uzbekistan shares data on loan portfolio of its banks for 2021
Russian veterans urge to check Union of Armenians in Russia regarding film about Garegin Nzhdeh
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan reveals revenue data from communication and information services
Remains of Armenian soldier found in Azerbaijan's Fuzuli district
GDP of Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan growing
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 3,564 more COVID-19 cases, 1,004 recoveries
Russia allocates credit line for construction of Iran`s Sirik power plant - minister
National Bank of Georgia to adopt regulations for cryptocurrency trading platforms
Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan discloses loans issued to population
Azerbaijan Entrepreneurship Development Fund to help businesses create corporate governance mechanisms
German RBC consulting company talks achievements in work on Azerbaijani market
Kazakh president calls on Nur Otan party members to focus on some priorities
Iran Oil Industry Pension Fund eyes to invest in oil and energy sectors
Uzbek UzAuto Motors to generate higher revenue in 2022
Azerbaijan’s Buta Airways becomes most active passenger carrier in Georgia
Kazakhstan-based Nostrum unveils oil production indicators for 2021
Turkmenistan assisting in delivery of Turkish humanitarian aid to Afghanistan
Azerbaijan to increase number of bus routes to Karabakh (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan discloses number of passengers of regular bus trips to liberated Shusha, Aghdam
President Ilham Aliyev congratulates president of Kazakhstan on election as chairman of Nur Otan party
Uzbekistan proposes India to develop co-op in healthcare, education and IT
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signs order on 30th anniversary of Khojaly genocide
Israel signs deal with Novavax for COVID vaccine
Azerbaijan's ANAMA builds new mobile field camp in Aghdam district (PHOTO)
TBC Capital shares data on mortgage loans issuance in Georgia
Turkmen Commodity Exchange discloses data on imports from East Asian countries
SOFAZ places €1 billion deposit with Central Bank of Turkey
Iran seeks to prevent import of luxury goods
India & 5 Central Asian Countries To Form Joint Working Group On Afghanistan
Azerbaijan's foreign trade turnover notably up in 2021
Azerbaijani deputy PM to attend opening ceremony of Olympic Winter Games in Beijing
Uzbekistan sees growth in agricultural production
India for ‘greater urgency’ in trade negotiations with EU, says EAM Jaishankar
Georgia increases textile exports to Turkey
Romanian energy minister to visit Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan records decline in foreign currency sales - chairman of CBA
Georgia’s imports of oil products from Kazakhstan plummet
Turkmenistan to increase electricity supply to Afghanistan
Central Bank of Azerbaijan names allocations made to support national currency rate in 2015
Azerbaijan to build astronomical station in Karabakh region
Use of cryptocurrency not endangering stability of Azerbaijani national currency - CBA
Central Bank of Azerbaijan plans to sign agreement with int’l consulting company
UNIDO to offer expertise for Turkmen energy sector
Central Bank of Azerbaijan names priorities for development of insurance sector
Our first president made huge contribution to strengthening of state - President Tokayev
Nur Otan party should be led by person who was nominated and supported by it in presidential election - Nazarbayev
CBA expects inflation to return to target range Azerbaijan in 2023
Devotion to interests of country has particular importance in politics - Kazakh president
Iran working on connecting of Gilan ports to national railway network
Share of electricity in Azerbaijan’s total exports down
Siraf Pars Port in Iran becomes country's major liquid gas exporter
Global food prices rise to highest level over past decade - FAO (Exclusive)
Decree regulating process of charity on part of big business to be issues in Kazakhstan
French 2021 economic growth strongest in 52 years at 7%
Kazakh-Russian copper deposit dev't project approved by Russia's Main Department of State Expertise
Azerbaijan reveals petroleum coke, oil bitumen exports
Buta Airways to resume flights to Mineralnye Vody in February
Turkmenistan sees decline in trade turnover with Azerbaijan
We'll return to issue of expediency of my further chairmanship in Nur Otan after some time - Tokayev
Representative body of Kazakhstan's Nur Otan party updated by 55%
Azerbaijan unveils volume of transactions via Apple Pay
Public councils created under Nur Otan party should become effective platform - Tokayev
Azerbaijani Central Bank not planning to create new legislative base to regulate digital banks
Central Bank discloses Azerbaijan's possible current account balance in 2022
Potential of Nur Otan party wasn't fully utilized at critical moment - Tokayev
Currency rate of Azerbaijani manat to be stable in 2022 - CBA
Military reforms, increasing of combat capability of troops to be priority in 2022 – Azerbaijan MoD
Dariga Nazarbayeva resigned from Kazakhstan Nur Otan party
Azerbaijan reveals Top 10 oil importers
Azerbaijani CBA forecasts increase in demand for foreign currency
Rothschild & Co eyes creation of special financial zones in Georgia
Azerbaijan increases share of natural gas in exports
Annual inflation to be above target range in Azerbaijan - CBA
Nur Otan Party needs to renew itself - Tokayev
Turkmen enterprise eyes to expand tomato production
Non-OPEC won’t return to pre-COVID levels of oil output
Azerbaijan defense minister expresses condolences to Pakistan
Additional barrels from OPEC+ back to market in 2022 to be less than headline figure
Azerbaijan continues restoration and construction work on its liberated lands
Kazakh president elected chairman of Nur Otan Party
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev awards WCO Sec-Gen with 'Dostlug' order
Global oil demand to surpass pre-pandemic levels this year
Uzbekistan plans to implement new projects jointly with AIIB
After 20 years, privatisation programme in India off to 'Maharaja' start
Armenian troops open fire at Azerbaijani positions in direction of Tovuz district
CBA denies rumor on currency swap deal between Azerbaijani, Turkish central banks
Azerbaijan reveals inflation rate for 2021
Buta Airways to start operating flights to Kharkiv in May and increase number of flights to Kiev
All news