A crowd of Vietnamese-American evacuees seeks assistance at the BPSOS-Houston office after Hurricane Ike’s devastating impact.
September 24, 2008: In just four days, the Houston branch of BPSOS has helped 489 people and their families deal with the crushing impact of Hurricane Ike. After days of serving long lines of evacuees awaiting aid, staff and volunteers at the Houston office are only now beginning to take breaks and set aside time for lunch. Below are the observations of BPSOS-Houston staff attorney An-Phong Vo:
Monday: We had over 10 seniors seeking assistance today. Our very own senior, chu Nghia Dang, makes sure that seniors, the disabled, and families with young children received priority services, meaning they get to cut in front of the line.
Hurricane Ike has left most of our seniors’ properties unscathed, that is, if losing power for nearly 10 days is not considered damaging enough. Bac Thanh, however, did not fare as well. He lived in a mobile home in Baytown, Texas, and Ike demolished his home of 10+ years to an uneven pile of vinyl and rubbish. His mobile home was not insured because he couldn’t afford property insurance. He’s still cheerful, though, because his friend has taken in his family, and he’s positive that FEMA will provide him with adequate assistance to start life anew.
Tuesday: How does it feel to lose everything in one night? Most of us never have to contemplate this situation, yet chi Michelle Vo’s client from Seabrook, Texas, has lived with this reality since Ike. He was self-employed as a fisherman and lived on his small fishing boat. Ike wiped out everything he owned in just a few hours. He is unable to produce a picture ID because his important documents were lost during evacuation. How does it feel to lose everything in a night? Lost.
Check back here for more updates on the day-to-day struggle to help the victims of Hurricane Ike. And don’t forget to call the Houston office at 281.530.6888 if you can volunteer to help! Your commitment is especially needed if you are bilingual.