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Hurricane Ike Wreaks Havoc on Gulf Coast, Leaves Parts of Midwest Without Power

BY Admin  September 15, 2008 at 11:15 AM EST

Flooded areas after Hurricane Ike; AP Photo

Rescue teams were in place to help those displaced and injured and to search flood-damaged areas Monday morning. By Sunday afternoon, rescuers said nearly 2,000 people had been saved from water-logged homes, according to the AP.

Buses heading out of Houston and other destroyed areas were taking thousands to shelters in San Antonio and Austin.

President Bush, former governor of the Lone Star State, is scheduled to visit Texas on Tuesday to survey the damage.

“First priority is search and rescue,” Bush told reporters, according to the Star-Telegram. “It’s very important for citizens, who I know are anxious to get home, to take your time and listen, take the advice of the local folks.”

To help increase rescue efforts in the region, both of Houston’s passenger airports, including the busy George Bush Intercontinental, were set to reopen with limited service Monday after closing for the weekend.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had opened six rescue centers with plans to open 11 more by the end of Monday, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Outside of Texas, the Louisiana coastline was hardest hit, although thousands had left the area in fear of Hurricane Gustav earlier this month.

For residents of most of Louisiana’s 250-mile coastline, evacuees were still kept from returning home Monday morning because rescue teams were still working in the area, which has gone without electricity since Saturday.

Further north, strong winds and power outages took their toll on residents from states such as Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio.

Many residents in the Midwest dealt with closed-down schools, businesses and roads, along with flash flooding.

“We’ve never had flooding like this,” Tom DeGiulio, town manager of Munster, Ind., told the AP.

Officials in Indiana announced six people have died in the flooding and high winds.

“Among them were a teacher and his father who were sucked into culvert and drowned Sunday while trying to rescue a 10-year-old boy in from a flooded ditch,” the AP reported.

At least four were reported dead in Ohio from falling branches and debris from the storm, and the AP reported that more than a million homes and businesses are left without electricity. Winds in Ohio Sunday reached up to 78 mph.

“Utilities are calling the power outages the worse in history and say it could be a week before all customers are back up,” according to the AP.

Effects of the hurricane were also to be seen as far northeast as Buffalo and Albany, N.Y., where more than 60,000 people were left without power Monday morning.