Evacuees In Big Sandy Want Answers - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/29/05-Big Sandy

Evacuees In Big Sandy Want Answers

Many new evacuees at the Alert Academy in Big Sandy say they are angry and frustrated. Before arriving last night, many had lived in three different shelters in the past week. Evacuees say they don't understand why they were brought to Big Sandy.

"They told us in Lufkin that we are suppose to be going to Texarkana, but this doesn't look like Texarkana to me," said Jarsha Frazier, Port Arthur Evacuee.

"Lufkin told us that we would be going to a dorm and have our own privacy and we could have our own rooms," said Keelie Mandrin, Port Arthur Evacuee. Someone in Lufkin told the evacuees all these things, but instead they were faced with a non-air conditioned convention center.

"We are very angry because I feel like we are treated like animals," said Mayra Taylor, Port Arthur Evacuee. "I don't feel like we are being treated like human beings." The Alert Academy says the state called on Tuesday asking if it could provide a shelter. John Tanner, the Director of the Alert Academy says he told the state all he had was a non-airconditioned convention center.

"The issue of the state is they had no other place to go with them," said Tanner. "The schools there or whatever the system was in Lufkin was going to put them on the street and we didn't want to see that, so we opened the door." The Alert Academy says it's doing everything it can do to help. The American Red Cross says it wasn't ready for all the evacuees, and right now it's just trying to meet the people's immediate needs.

"We didn't know they didn't have air conditioning," said Carla Zaedo, American Red Cross. "We're just trying our best you know to put a roof over their head and to put food in their tummies."

Still many are stuck in Big Sandy and want answers. Perhaps one 13-year-old put it the best.

"If they could get us the same treatment that they gave to the people from Hurricane Katrina, then maybe everyone would feel better," said Kenteh Birdow, Port Arthur Evacuee. About 600 evacuees are staying at the Alert Academy. Evacuees say their biggest need is gasoline to get to their families and friends and laundry services. The American Red Cross says it needs more volunteers.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com


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