Maude Cobb Convention Center Opens For Hurricane Rita Evacuees - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/22/05-Longview

Maude Cobb Convention Center Opens For Hurricane Rita Evacuees

The Maude Cobb Convention Center in Longview once again opens its doors to hurricane evacuees.  The center is currently providing shelter to more than 100 people. Just yesterday, the Red Cross ended its Hurricane Katrina operations at Maude Cobb. But today, the shelter is once again open for Hurricane Rita evacuees. "This morning around five, we started getting our first evacuees from Hurricane Rita," said Judy Haggard, the shelter manager at Maude Cobb Convention Center.

Volunteers are being called back to help with this operation. "It was unexpected to have to continue with back to back hurricanes, but we're prepared. We're ready," said Teresa Davis, a volunteer at Maude Cobb. For some of those who've left their homes, the drive to safety has been a long one. "We left Port Authur last night about eight and we got here this morning about six," said Lawrence Daranda, an evacuee from Port Authur.

Some evacuees say they're already dreading the thought of what they'll find when they go back home. "We're afraid to get home and not see anything, that everything will be gone," said Angelina Cardenas, another evacuee from Port Authur.

Most of the volunteers helping out at Maude Cobb are no strangers to the center. "The majority of our volunteers were here during Katrina," said Haggard.

Officials with the center say they're ready for this new task. "We're here for the people. The American Red Cross, that's what we're all about, to provide a safe shelter for them during their time of need," said Haggard.

The Maude Cobb Convention Center can house 500 people. Officials at the shelter say they expect to be open at least two weeks.

Oralia Ortega reporting, ortega@kltv.com

 

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