Houston/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 20, 2024
Mayor Whitmire Praises Houston's Solidarity Post-Storm, Vows to Restore Power and Ensure SafetySource: City of Houston

Following the devastating storm that tore through Houston, Mayor John Whitmire commended the solidarity and resilience of Houstonians. The mayor highlighted the community's spirit in a press conference at the Houston Emergency Center, saying, "Once again Houston demonstrated how special we are in terms of coming together," as reported by the Houston Chronicle. While praising the city's unity, Whitmire acknowledged the significant challenges ahead, particularly in restoring the city's power.

Suffering from the storm's wrath, significant damage was spotted in Northwest Houston, the Heights, and the central business district, to name a few. Even with the destruction wrought, Whitmire shared a positive update: power outages had dropped to under 300,000 residents from a staggering initial count of over 900,000. The city aims to have CenterPoint fully restore electricity by Wednesday, with Houston's mayor optimistic about the quick remediation of the situation. The Click2Houston report further detailed that Houston ISD is facing challenges with 56 schools lacking power, but classes will resume on Monday with food provided to the affected institutions.

The Houston mayor also established a downtown exclusion zone, spanning a six-block area, to ensure public safety and expedite repair work. Describing the precarious situation downtown, Whitmire said, “Workers will be in this footprint, working on broken windows, there’s still dangers downtown due to flying glass, they’re restoring the glass, workers will be present,” as Click2Houston informed. The exclusion zone is strictly enforced by HPD and Texas DPS, though how long it will remain in effect has not been specified.

Moreover, essential city employees have been directed to work remotely, excluding those from critical services such as police, fire, and public works. Mayor Whitmire also took a stern stance toward senior living facilities that failed their residents during the crisis, having abandoned them without power or food. "We're going to hold the management responsible," Whitmire affirmed. The mayor concluded his news conference with a visit to Independence Hall, one of the impacted facilities. For the security of residents, the acting police chief, Larry Satterwhite, warned against taking advantage of the situation for burglary, with reports stating that Houston police had made 15 arrests following 117 burglaries since the storm began.