Lubbock Prepared For Gustav Evacuees That May Not Come - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/31/08

Lubbock Prepared For Gustav Evacuees That May Not Come

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To date, relief shelters have opened in nine states. There are 69 different shelters with the capacity to house more than 30,000 evacuees. As of Sunday night, Lubbock is on standby to help but not expected to receive evacuees. However, that does not mean it's out of the question.

Rows of cots are still empty at the City Bank Coliseum, as Lubbock waits to see if evacuees will now even fill them up.

Lubbock Police Chief Dale Holton said, "We were told at a conference call this morning (Sunday) that we were not accepting evacuees or they were not planned for a Lubbock arrival."

 But that was not the case just more than 24-hours earlier.

"We were still getting word from the state operations center that we would be receiving 500 evacuees from Louisiana," Emergency Management Assistant Kathleen Finely said. 

Lubbock got ready. Finely says the evacuees were expected to come by plane. So early Sunday morning, law enforcement was at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, along with Citibus on standby and the City Bank Coliseum was ready for evacuees.

"We didn't know what time they would be coming, so we had to have all operations in place at 6 a.m.," Finely said. 

But during a statewide call Sunday morning with the governor's Division of Emergency Management, the plan changed.

"We got the message from the state operations center to basically stand by, be on alert," Finely added.

Finely says for now it appears shelters in Louisiana and other parts of Texas, are able to care for the evacuees. However, as Gustav continues to take shape the state's plan could change again.

"We're standing-by incase other evacuee centers get over crowded and get filled, we'll accept their over flow," Holton said.

It's a game of prepare and wait, one that if needed Lubbock plans to win.

The Red Cross volunteer center is closed Sunday and operations there are on hold for now. But your help still may be needed depending on Gustav's path and the damage left behind.

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