FEMA estimates as many as 13,000 evacuees in Oklahoma - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

FEMA estimates as many as 13,000 evacuees in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ More than 4,000 federal relief applications have been filed in Oklahoma by families who fled Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.

Since the applications are filed by families, FEMA multiplies the number of applications by 3.2 and estimates there could be as many as 13,000 Gulf Coast evacuees staying in Oklahoma, FEMA spokesman Sue Evers said Thursday.

More than 3,200 applications had been filed by Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Oklahoma, and more than 800 by Hurricane Rita evacuees.

State emergency management workers are helping evacuees find interim housing and meet other needs. Federal reimbursement for gasoline money is one of the biggest obstacles they're facing, said Linda Soos-Davis, human services division chief for the state Department of Emergency Management.

Local charities have been working with evacuees at relief centers to provide them with housing, clothing and food, and to try to find them jobs.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has helped about 150 families this week alone, said Shirley Cox, director of social action. The group is one of several working at the hurricane assistance center.

In addition to housing, clothing and food referrals, Catholic Charities provides hygiene kits and $25 Wal-Mart gift cards to help buy necessities.

About 320 people still are staying in six shelters in Oklahoma, Evers said.

Those applying for federal disaster assistance could receive grants for temporary housing, minor home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources, Evers said.

Low-interest disaster loans through the Small Business Administration also are available to help business owners rebuild, she said.
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