Residents of Galveston Island, Texas, who were evacuated before Hurricane Ike strafed the Texas Gulf coast can return to their homes Wednesday, but they will find few comforts, Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas said Saturday.
Galveston has little or no electricity, natural gas, water or sewer services. There are no medical facilities, there is limited cell phone coverage, and a curfew is in place from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Violators risk a $2,000 fine, the mayor said in a statement.
Galveston took a direct hit from Ike when it barreled ashore September 13 as a Category 2 storm. Despite orders to evacuate, about 20,000 of Galveston’s 60,000 residents opted to remain in their homes. Many of those who left went to shelters.
Thomas said residents can begin returning at 6 a.m. (7 a.m. ET) Wednesday. Residents and business owners must show photo identification verifying their address to guards manning checkpoints, she said.
“Very limited water, sewer, natural gas, and electric services have been restored to areas behind the seawall,” the mayor said in a statement.
Residents of the heavily damaged west end of the island can assess their damages but must leave the area by 6 p.m., Thomas said.
“Water, sewer, natural gas, and electric services have not been restored to areas west of seawall. Therefore, sanitary living conditions are not available at this time,” she said.
Thomas gave a long list of supplies residents should take with them when they return.