GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - State, federal and local officials have made almost 2,000 rescues overall of Southeast Texans who refused to evacuate the area in front of Hurricane Ike.
Texas homeland security chief Steve McCraw today said 394 of those rescues were by air.
The comments came at a news conference today in Galveston.
Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas had a message for island city residents sheltered inland because of Hurricane Ike.
"Do not come back to Galveston. You cannot live here right now."
She said, "Galveston has been hit hard" by the hurricane that struck the island city yesterday. In her words: "We have no power. We have no gas. We have no communications. We don't know when they will be restored."
State and city officials said those who now want to leave Galveston would be taken to shelters in San Antonio and Austin. McCraw said the state "will keep those shelters open as long as we need." In his words, "Texans will take care of Texans."
City Manager Steve LeBlanc suggested that it could be weeks before most Galveston residents would be able to return.
City Manager Steve LeBlanc said Ike's storm surge of 12 to 15 feet in Galveston has left the western end of Galveston's historic seawall compromised. He didn't elaborate, but did say, "I think the seawall did a very good job protecting us."
The seawall was built in the wake of the 1900 Galveston hurricane that left at least 6,000 dead.