Gov. Perry Provides Update on Hurricane Rita Preparations
AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry discussed the latest developments in the state's hurricane preparations and evacuation efforts this morning at the State Operations Center in Austin.
"Yesterday was the height of an evacuation effort unlike anything we have ever seen before," Gov. Perry said. "Traffic was excruciatingly slow, but the ultimate, immediate goal of getting millions of people out of the impact zone has been achieved."
Gov. Perry commended law enforcement, transportation officials and local leaders for their efforts to evacuate citizens. Gov. Perry provided the latest developments on the state's efforts:
* Yesterday the state completed 15 airlifts out of Beaumont with six more scheduled for today. This effort will ensure close to 1,500 people from that area alone are moved out of harm's way by airlift, with many more by vehicle transport.
* Airlifts are underway at Ellington Field in Houston. The state anticipates airlifting 400 people with special needs by the end of the morning.
* Twenty-five buses are canvassing the Beaumont area, providing transportation for Texans in the storm's path.
* The state continues to work to get fuel to stranded motorists. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) is making bulk fuel deliveries to facilities along the evacuation routes. TXDoT, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Army National Guard will continue to provide motorist assistance in the hurricane impact area. Stranded motorists are advised to call 1-800-525-5555.
* Texas has pre-positioned search and rescue personnel and mass care strike teams to immediately enter the affected areas as soon as it is safe to do so. Gov. Perry also noted that there will be a strong law enforcement presence in the affected areas in the aftermath of the storm's impact.
* There is adequate shelter space for Texans who are evacuating. The Red Cross had 54 shelters on standby as of 8 a.m. today.
* Families wanting to locate their loved ones may call the Red Cross' toll-free hotline, 1-877-LOVED-1S (1-877-568-3317) or www.redcross.org.
"This is a great test for our people, but we will get through this," Gov. Perry said. "We will get through this because we have prepared for such an event, because so many took evacuation orders seriously and because this state has thousands of rescue and relief workers that stand ready."