The refugees – and I still have trouble with that word when it comes to Americans and I wonder if it’s really ever been used in-country before – first were taken 350 miles west to Houston’s Astrodome. When that “filled” up after about 11,500 people came – though they had said 25,000 would fit – these lost souls were then sent to homes in the surrounding areas, at the request of Houston Mayor Bill White and Gov. Rick Perry.
On Thursday night, the fire marshal ordered that no more evacuees be permitted to stay at the Astrodome, where 11,000 were already housed. Buses packed with people from New Orleans were turned away, but White rescinded the order.
Yesterday, officials, who initially said 23,000 to 25,000 could fit in the dome, agreed to stop at the current 15,000 mark because of fears of overcrowding. An additional 11,000 will stay at the Reliant Center and 3,000 are already at the Reliant Arena, both located on the campus of the Astrodome. Officials said thousands more would probably be taken to another arena in the downtown area.
Now, these families are headed another 165 miles to Austin, Texas to that city’s convention center.
[ Austin Mayor Will] Wynn said the city urgently needs bedding for the refugees — he said an order of 6,000 cots was rerouted to Louisiana. They need cots, clean sleeping bags, mattresses, blankets, cushions and pillows. Donations can be dropped off at the Trinity Street side of the convention center, which is on Cesar Chavez Street between Congress Avenue and Interstate 35.
The first busload with 23 people and one dog that drove straight from New Orleans arrived at the Convention Center at 9:40 a.m. Three more arrived within minutes with an undetermined number of refugees.
I’ve been sitting here in Casa Grande, AZ, thinking there’s not much more I can do, in reality, than I already have. But as news comes out that the stranded and homeless are moving further West I begin to wonder if I will be called upon to help out in a more immediate way.
Will they need to make it to the Phoenix area – a distance of 1,500 miles? That’s an exodus. A painful, sad one.
More importantly donatePowered by Sidelines