Hurricane Rita Update – 6:42 p.m. - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

09/23/05 – Austin

Hurricane Rita Update – 6:42 p.m.

The following are the latest developments in Texas’ response to Hurricane Rita:

        Gov. Rick Perry announced the establishment of the Texas Disaster Relief Fund, a way for Texans to help their neighbors.  Visit http://www.governor.state.tx.us for more information or to make a contribution.

        Texas National Guard forces and active duty military have flown over 40 missions and evacuated almost 3,000 individuals by air.  U.S. Navy and commercial carriers have voluntarily airlifted approximately 1,000 others, with many more assisted through vehicle transport.

        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 announced that there will be a strong law enforcement presence in the affected areas, with 5,000 National Guard troops and 2,000 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers augmenting local law enforcement agencies.

        The Texas Department of State Health Services asks media to publicize a toll-free number for Texas doctors and nurses who want to volunteer their services at shelters and other locations where evacuees have been taken. Doctors and nurses who want to volunteer should call 1-800-942-5540 or visit https://tigerlily.tdh.state.tx.us/volunteerreg/volunteerinfo.aspx

        The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is asking foster families to call toll-free, 1-888-233-3405 to check in and provide their evacuation location and contact information.

        While many state parks in the hurricane’s path are closed, there are many locations that remain open and available to hurricane evacuees.  Texans with questions about park closures or available campsites should call (512) 389-8900 or visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us.

        The Texas Public Utility Commission asks Texans to keep phone calls into the impacted area to a minimum.  The use of text messaging services to contact loved ones is encouraged whenever possible.  Text messaging services will keep more voice lines available for emergency use.  For more information, visit http://www.puc.state.tx.us/nrelease/2005/092105.cfm.

        Families wanting to locate their loved ones may call the Red Cross’ toll-free hotline, 1-877-LOVED-1S (1-877-568-3317) or visit http://www.redcross.org.

        Texans evacuating from the storm’s path may call 2-1-1 or 1-888-312-4567 for evacuation and shelter information.

Additional information and previous updates regarding the state’s preparations for Hurricane Rita are online at http://www.governor.state.tx.us/priorities/health_safety/hurricane/rita_prepare

Source:  Texas Governor’s Office ~ Post Office Box 12428 ~Austin, TX 78711 ~ (512) 463-2000

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