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North Texas Ready for Hurricane Ike Evacuees

By BJ Austin, KERA Reporter

Dallas, TX – Texas is bracing for Hurricane Ike, now a Category Two storm roaring through the Gulf of Mexico toward the state's coastline. President Bush has declared a state of emergency in Texas, opening the pipeline of federal aid to state and local responders. KERA's BJ Austin says Dallas is preparing for hurricane evacuees for the second time in as many weeks.

Volunteers set up cots in the Convention Center-1,000 of them- and the director of Dallas Emergency Management, Kenny Shaw, expects every bed to be taken by the time Ike hits this weekend. Shaw says Dallas emergency responders know the drill after Hurricane Gustav and are ready to take in those fleeing the storm.

Shaw: Once they're registered in, they're given a little health-type kit. And they can either go to the dining area to get something to eat, or they can come and pick out a cot area. Thirty volunteers from the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation worked quickly to set up the cots. Jason Yeh says they were here for Gustav, too.

Yeh: Last time, Gustav, we provided hot meals and the gas money to go back home. We just try to do what we can to help.

Yeh says they donated $7,000 to help Hurricane Gustav evacuees, most of them from Louisiana, with gas money to get home. Tarrant County is manning five shelters, able to handle 500. Dallas' Kenny Shaw predicts some 5,000 evacuees will make their way to North Texas ahead of Hurricane Ike.