The Christian Science Monitor reports that the humanitarian relief effort in the Texas Gulf Coast has kicked into gear, but there have been some noted problems:

Few, if any supplies, had been distributed more than 24 hours after Ike made landfall, leaving even some first responders hungry.

What's more, charitable organizations, which played a central role in post-Katrina emergency relief, report they're already exhausted and depleted after responding to hurricanes Gustav and Hanna, as well as tropical storm Fay.

Logistics have also been an issue in getting relief to people. As the CS Monitor reported:

...in surrounding Harris County, as well as in Galveston and in the Texas oil center of Beaumont up the coast, the logistical challenge of feeding and cooling millions of people spread out over hundreds of square miles of low country is daunting.

With so many people poised to run out of food and fuel, Houston Mayor Bill White says the stakes are enormous for FEMA and other federal agencies to get the humanitarian response right.

"Ninety percent of people claim they are prepared to survive at least three days on their own, but even if that's true 10 percent would create a big demand," writes Earl Baker, a hurricane preparedness expert at Florida State University in Tallahassee, in an e-mail. "There will be problems figuring out how much is needed where, and then how to get it there. Low-income people, minorities, and the elderly usually need more assistance sooner," Mr. Baker wrote.

Reports are in that there have been little sign of relief efforts or aid in the storm's worst-hit areas like Galveston, and what has arrived has been ineffective.

 
As millions across the region struggle to deal without power, officials this week also warned of a potential health crisis in Galveston, urging thousands of people leave the area, since relief supplies, food, water, and medical care were scarce. "FEMA ain't been by, nobody," a disabled retiree Vivian Matthews, who was stranded at her flooded apartment for two days, told Reuters. "They don't give a damn if we live or die."

BBC News reports that there have been accounts of long queues at the distribution centers, as those affected by the hurricane continue to wait for supply trucks to arrive.


CNN reports that in Houston grocery store shelves are bare and food left in refrigerators has rotted in the absence of electricity. According to CNN:
 

The Houston Food Bank is "utterly overwhelmed with people asking for help," said its president, Brian Greene. The food bank needs 500,000 pounds of food a day for the next six weeks to satisfy the "staggering" needs of Texans who have no food or water after the storm, he said.

"People don't grasp just how many people live here," said Greene, who was executive director of New Orleans' Food Bank when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Greene said the food bank normally distributes aid through local charities, churches and other faith-based organizations. But many were wiped out by the storm or are unable to function because of the lack of electricity or phone service. Greene said the food bank tried to hand out food at its main facility in Houston, but didn't have the capacity to handle demand.