Hurricane Katrina: UT Tyler Awaits Activation from Emergency Operation Center
September 3, 2005

Chris Witt (l) and Steve Rumpf (r) set up the dining area for evacuees.
Chris Witt (l) and Steve Rumpf (r) set up the dining area for evacuees.

James Robson (seated) and Sal Niser, both of New Orleans, relax after showering in the UT Tyler athletics building. Both men, who are in the Green Acres Baptist Church shelter, arrived in Tyler after a two-day bus ride from the Superdome. UT Tyler provided shower facilities to the evacuees of the GABC shelter.

Preparation continues at The University of Texas at Tyler, which will be the next Tyler shelter to be activated by the Emergency Operation Center, President Rodney H. Mabry announced.

Green Acres Baptist Church must reach capacity before UT Tyler will be activated, according to Laura Krantz of the Emergency Operation Center.

“We’re in standby mode. We’ve got volunteers in place for UT Tyler and the shelter is ready to receive people, but it is not active,” she said.

Some evacuees from GABC have been transported to UT Tyler to use the shower facilities, and they will return to Green Acres.

Volunteers from Grace Community Church have been working throughout the day setting up the UT Tyler Fisch Convocation Center, which is where evacuees will sleep. The Red Cross has supplied security, food, water, blankets, towels and other necessities.

UT Tyler began getting ready yesterday after a site visit from the Red Cross, which will direct the general shelter in the UT Tyler Fisch Convocation Center.

The Smith County Public Health District will coordinate the special needs shelter in the UT Tyler Braithwaite Building.

If necessary, the 20-bed nursing skills learning lab would be used to support low acuity medical needs of hurricane evacuees.

Approximately 250 – 300 evacuees could be accommodated for 30 days in the Fisch Convocation Center.

“We want to make them as comfortable as we can during this difficult time. We are also looking at ways to develop educational and recreational activities for the younger children who aren’t of school age yet,” said President Mabry.

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