Texas A Grim Tableau Nearly A Week After Ike

GALVESTON, Texas — The mayor of Galveston, Texas, says the city is “not in ruins,” but nearly a week after Hurricane Ike struck it remains a mess and she’s asking people to stay away for another week.

There’s some power to the only hospital, though not enough, and spotty cell phone service. Meanwhile, more water is flowing out of the city’s pipes than flowing in — a situation the city manager describes as the water system “bleeding.”

Piles of debris are stacked higher than people’s heads, while livestock roam loose, grazing beneath downed power lines.

About 45,000 people heeded evacuation orders on Galveston Island. Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas says “by staying away and being patient,” they’ll allow workers to stabilize basic services and perhaps get people back to their homes in a week or so.

Statewide, about 1 and a-half million homes are still without power.