Galveston mayor prepares for historic trip

GALVESTON, TX [INTERACTIVE: Take a look at the history of US-Cuba relations]

Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas wants to help establish a relationship that could help improve hurricane preparedness.

The images are now considered historic. Likewise, the complete devastation and deadly force of the storm of 1900 was seen as unparalleled in Galveston. That is, until six months ago, when Hurricane Ike's deadly path destroyed much of the island.

There is one common denominator between both storms. Both first engulfed Cuba, a shared experience the mayor of Galveston will explore in the city's first ever official trip to Cuba.

"I hope that Cuba will learn something from us as far as what I hope to learn from Cuba is, in particular, their evacuation process, both evacuation and re-entry, which we have had a problem with," said Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas.

Mayor Thomas is joining a group out of Washington DC called the Center for International Policy with the hope of building better communication in times of natural disaster, including protecting their ports.

"We have a long history with Havana and we want to talk to them about how they can protect their port as they have for post disaster to bring their businesses back in their port," said Thomas.

It's a historic trip with ideas shared by two countries.

"That's the reason," said Mayor Thomas. "It's all about hurricanes."

Mayor Thomas is scheduled to leave for Cuba next Tuesday. Eyewitness News will travel with her on that trip.

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