Katrina evacuees leaving, Rita evacuees arriving

Monday, September 26th 2005, 10:15 am
By: News On 6

Many evacuees from Hurricane Rita are showing up in Tulsa and plenty of people know how they feel. That's because there are still hundreds of Katrina evacuees in Oklahoma. Some are still going to relief shelters, looking for help.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says every hour, a few more hurricane evacuees arrive at Tulsa's Red Cross processing center and shelter.

Along with the new arrivals are people who have been here for most of a month. Elvira Allen fled New Orleans and she isn't going back. “There's nothing left, I don't have anything, clothing, furniture, anything, the house was under water." These days, the Katrina evacuees share meals with the Rita evacuees, swapping stories of what happened to them and what kind of help is available.

For the Katrina victims, there is plenty of help, but FEMA's help for Rita victims is still hampered by red tape. About the time the Katrina evacuees started leaving, the Hurricane Rita evacuees started arriving.

After serving 10,000 meals, it's unclear how much longer this shelter will need to stay open. The use of the building was donated by Crosstown Church of Christ, and its members make and serve all the meals. Pastor Charlie Kymes: "We just feel like God has blessed us by helping these people, anybody would have done it and we're happy to do it."

Some of the new evacuees are already making plans to leave. Robin Ballard of Starks, Louisiana: "So we're waiting on the Salvation Army to see if they can help us with some gas and necessities for the trip back down that way."

With the damage from the second storm much less than the first, it's possible the last people to arrive will be the first ones to get home.