This weekend on Meet the Press, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas stated the following:

Mr. Russert: How many deaths have been the result of this hurricane?

Gov. Perry: Well, from the direct impact of the hurricane, it appears at this particular point in time that it’s zero.I know that’s a miraculous number, I mean, the idea that you had a storm of that size come in with that power. Now, I can’t speak over in Louisiana ’cause I haven’t been in contact with their officials. But in the state of Texas, we have not had a death directly associated. Obviously, we had a tragedy up in–just north of Dallas with the mass evacuation that was going on and that freak accident with the truck–or excuse me, the bus that caught fire and those individuals there lost their lives. But it’s been from the standpoint of loss of life–and that’s what you got to look at. We’ll rebuild. We have truly dodged a major bullet here.

Today’s story from the Houston Chronicle, Front page, above the fold:

At least 31 people died in Harris County as a result of circumstances surrounding Hurricane Rita, several of them from heat-related illnesses during the mass evacuation before the storm hit, the medical examiner’s office announced Tuesday.

More than half of those deaths — 17 of the 31 recorded so far — were of people evacuating to safer ground when they suffered some sort of medical distress, said Beverly Begay, chief investigator of the medical examiner’s office. None of the deaths occurred during the storm itself, she said.

The office completed its grim inventory Tuesday and announced the results after identifying all of the dead and notifying their families. The fatalities linked to Rita do not include the 23 Bellaire nursing-home residents who died when their bus caught fire Friday in Dallas County

“Considering around 2.8 million people evacuated within a short amount of time, this is a relatively small, small number,” Begay said.

That was little comfort to David Johnson Chiles, whose 91-year-old mother, Lunabeth Chiles, died Thursday at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center after her temperature soared to more than 108 degrees inside a vehicle as she was evacuating with him.

“I was devastated, the way I lost my mother,” David Chiles, 56, said Tuesday. “We did as the city officials told us to do, but it cost my mother’s life, and you cannot bring her back.”

The dead ranged in age from 14 months to 92 years. Though the deaths occurred over six days, about a third of the victims died Thursday when the evacuation crush was at its peak, clogging major Houston-area highways.

Nineteen of the 31 victims died or became ill while they were inside vehicles, and seven of the deaths were thought to be potentially heat-related, Begay said. Some had body temperatures ranging from 105 to 112 degrees, the report shows.

No deaths from the “direct impact”, eh, Rick?  Is Rick providing the citizens of this country with solid information?  Or his he just practicing that old Texas art of bullshitting the public?

To my way of thinking, We’ve had 54 citizens from Harris County ALONE die because of hurricane Rita (I’ll include the poor victims of the terrible fire, and why shouldn’t I? they were all residents of Harris County) .

Why can’t Perry just inform us of the facts?  

I call bullshit on Rick Perry.

Archived in my Hurricane Rita diary at Our Word.

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