Conditions Miserable for Ike Victims

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Texas authorities have reported another fatality from Hurricane Ike, even as conditions for survivors remain miserable.

Galveston officials have confirmed the first death in nearby Brazoria County, bringing the storm's U.S. death toll to 50.

At least three of the people who died in Galveston County had serious medical conditions prior to the storm, but did not evacuate. Two of the victims needed kidney dialysis treatment and another was a cancer patient whose breathing machine lost power in the storm.

Search teams found another victim drowned in a truck and a fifth was found in a hotel.

Miserable Conditions

Conditions for survivors remain miserable, five days after Ike hit the Texas Coast before roaring on into the U.S. heartland.

A large part of the city of Houston remains without power, and it could take several week to restore electrical service for all residents.

Debris from the storm is blocking city streets. Some elderly residents don't have cars and cannot get to FEMA and other food distribution sites.

"Nobody came on our street to see if we needed ice or water," Myrle Smith, 59, said. "It's not fair. I'm worried, I'm worried."

Operation Blessing in Texas, Needs Your Help

Meanwhile, disaster relief organization Operation Blessing has been in Texas since Monday, helping feed first-responders and search crews. When Hurricane Ike roared ashore last Friday, Operation Blessing's disaster relief teams were already poised to help.

Right now, OBI is appealing for help from its donors and partners for cash donations in order to bring in desperately-needed aid for victims.

"We need cash donations to finance relief efforts," said OBI president, Bill Horan. "We have full access to the restricted areas but we need the funds to help fill our trucks with more relief."

No Staying in Galveston

Residents who decided to weather out the storm have no services in Galveston. But this did not deter thousands who wanted to come back to the peninsula on Tuesday for a look at the devastation.

Authorities allowed residents come back for a brief look at their homes and businesses. The responding deluge of vehicles caused traffic delays with cars backed up for at least ten miles, prompting officials to suspend the visits just a couple of hours later.

Meanwhile, both state and local officials are insisting residents must leave, because the area is too damaged for anyone to stay. There's also concern for the possible spreading of diseases.

"It is pretty rough conditions over there," said County Judge Jim Yarbrough. "We have access issues for delivery of emergency services. Our goal is to vacate the peninsula."

Yarbrough said the Texas Attorney General's office is trying to figure out a legal maneuver to force the holdouts to leave.

Standing in Line for Hours

Many Houstonians were forced to wait in line for hours Tuesday at almost two dozen supply distribution centers set up in America's fourth-largest city to receive food, water and ice.

The city's mayor complained that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was not delivering enough supplies to each of the centers.

FEMA officials in Houston responded by saying they are refining glitches in the relief effort. They will deliver seven million meals, five million gallons of water, and tons of ice over the next several days.

FEMA spokesman Marty Bahamonde said they will also begin paying for 30 days of hotel expenses for homeowners whose houses are uninhabitable. FEMA plans to reimburse the hotels directly.

Sources: The Associated Press, ABC News

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