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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Hurricane hits home for UA students

    As recovery crews in Houston work to restore power to victims of Hurricane Ike, many UA students are still trying to pick up the pieces of their own.

    The UA is home to about 520 students from Texas, according to enrollment statistics, but it is unclear how many of them have been affected by Hurricane Ike.

    Tom VandenBrand, a pre-business sophomore, said that the hurricane caused his parents to evacuate and they have yet to return home.

    “”My parents had to evacuate to Okalahoma City,”” VandenBrand said. “”They were forced to evacuate. They had to leave on Monday … It was a countywide evacuation … Everyone had to leave.””

    While not everyone was forced from their homes, many residents were stranded without the benefit of electricity or running water.

    Elyse Powers, a journalism junior, said that her parents are still waiting for the city to restore power to their area.

    “”My parents, they still don’t have electricity,”” Powers said. “”They have been running a generator every once in a while, (but) you can’t run the generator too long because you can die from carbon monoxide poisoning.””

    For UA students away from home, the hardest part about the hurricane has been staying in touch with their families and trying to stay up-to-date with everything that is going on.

    “”It’s really hard … because (people in Houston) aren’t really supposed to use their cell phones that much,”” Powers said. “”At first, it was really, really kind of nerve-wracking, because we couldn’t get a hold of (our parents) because the landline was not working … we didn’t know if there was looting going on, if our parents were OK, if the house was OK ðððð- that was the worst part of it.””

    Carmen Austin, an astronomy freshman, said she has now been away from home for a little over a month and that it is stressful getting used to life on her own, knowing what her parents are going through back home.

    “”It’s kind of strange not being there, because when it was going on, I didn’t really know … when the hurricane was coming in, when it made landfall and everything – I didn’t know,”” Austin said. “”I had to wait to hear from people, and, of course, everyone lost power, so my friends who were in Houston, I was waiting to hear from them.””

    Austin’s family told her the biggest problem many residents are having is keeping their food cold while the power has been out, she said.

    “”Its kind of tough, because a lot of people don’t have computers or (refrigerators) and my mom was telling me that it is kind of hard to get ice,”” Austin said. “”Then it’s difficult because the ice melts and it is just a mess.””

    Anna McClain, a pre-business sophomore said that the devastation is extremely widespread, yet she feels that the city of Houston needs to do a better job of picking up the pieces.

    “”One of my best friends had a tree go through the roof where her bedroom was – she wasn’t home because she was (away) at school, but her parents were pretty shaken up about it,”” McClain said. “”I think it is a little daunting too that Houston is such a big city, and they are taking so long to recover … It’s really stressful on the people that are still there that we’re being so slow recovering … A week later, they still don’t know when they’re going to have electricity up.””

    While none of the people interviewed had any extensive damage done to their homes, they all were just trying to keep everything in perspective.

    “”It’s just a hurricane,”” Powers said. “”I know that sounds bad, but hurricanes happen … Usually Houston doesn’t get hit that hard, but we know our city has a good enough government that they will take care of us.””

    VandenBrand said that he has been working hard to come in contact with everyone he knows from the area just to make sure that they are all safe.

    “”It’s hard to explain, but people I haven’t talked to in three years, I talk to them now and it’s good to hear they’re doing all right,”” he said. “”But you have to make due, and that’s what it is.””

    Powers said that she had no plans to return to the area in the near future and that her parents should have electricity restored to their home in the next couple of days.

    “”It’s all material, so we are just trying to keep things in perspective – we’re just lucky no one got hurt in our group of people that we know,”” Powers said. “”There are already five million people in the city, so (I) just think it is good to stay away.””

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