Full Story September 26, 2005

Update from EOC in Jefferson County
Sally MacDonald/Rena Guillory
September 25, 2005 - 5:17PM

The local, state and federal agencies are working diligently in attempting to restore critical infrastructure in support of the recovery process. At this time... electricity is still out in the Golden Triangle. Entergy crews are working night and day to repair damage done by Hurricane Rita. It could still be weeks before power is restored. Water and sewer services are not operational. There are natural gas lines that have been damaged that can pose a hazard. Debris from damaged buildings, fallen trees, downed powerlines, etc. have the majority of city streets blocked.
Debris removal crews have been contracted to begin cleanup. Until the roadways are cleared and the electrical lines have been picked up, it is a dangerous situation.
Citizens are not allowed to return to their residences in all of Jefferson, Orange and Hardin County. They will not be allowed to check on their property.
Persons with emergency medical issues should go to Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital for treatment. Those patients with medical needs that require hospitalization will be transported to hospitals outside of Jefferson County. Only those with emergency medical needs should go to the hospital or call 9-1-1.
There is no shelter at Ford Park. It is only a collection point for those wishing to go to the shelter in San Antonio. Transporation to Ford Park will not be provided. Buses have not arrived to transport people to San Antonio.
The shelter in San Antonio will be at the former Kelly Air Force Base known as Kelly USA.
Kenneled pets will be allowed.
Access through the city is clear. US Highway 69 and I-10 are open, but drivers will not be allowed to exit.
There is no gasoline available in a multi-county area, therefore there will be no fuel for vehicles, chainsaws, generators,etc.
KFDM anchor Bill Leger reports that Jefferson County Judge Carl Griffith says local authorities are upset with FEMA because the local authorities say FEMA will not allow them to use generators parked on a trailer at Ford Park. The result is all of the emergency responders have to work in difficult situations because they have not generators to support their operations.
Judge Griffith says there are too many layers of bureaucracy and that is hindering local officials.
He says there's a breakdown in communication between state and federal officials.
The CEO of Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital hopes to testify before Congress, and explain how the breakdown in communications is affecting the recovery effort.
Joe Domino, the CEO of Entergy Texas, says there are 650,000 Entergy customers without power from the Houston area to Jennings, Louisiana; 275,000 in Texas alone.
In his 35 years, he says he's never seen a disaster impact the power system the way this one has.
He says this tops Katrina in the damage to the electric power infrastructure.
He has no idea when power will be restored.
Workers are assessing the damage and hope to work on an electrical grid from the Conroe area to Baton Rouge to restore power.
Local authorities say even when the grid is open the top priorities will be hospitals, police, fire and then residential neighborhoods.
FEMA is providing food and water for emergency workers.
Sally MacDonald reports the Texas National Guard is going into the neighborhoods and distributing MREs and water.