Red Cross In Tyler Set To Hand Out New Assistance To Rita Evacuees

Starting Monday the American Red Cross will begin offering new assistance to victims of Hurricane Rita. The aid comes about a week faster to Rita victims than it did for Katrina evacuees. The Red Cross says it will be giving out gift cards that can be used for emergency needs like gas and medicine.

"We're not an insurance company. We're not going to be able to handle long term rental assistance or long term temporary housing. Our primary goal in the federal, state and local response plans is to provide mass care and sheltering," said Tammy Prater, the Executive Directorat the Smith County Red Cross.

Rita evacuees needing assistance that are not in a shelter can register at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in the Off Broadway Shopping Center starting tomorrow at 8:00 am.

However, the Smith County Red Cross expects to be completely overwhelmed and is asking that anyone that can wait a day or two do so. Red cross shelters will begin registering evacuees in those shelters on Tuesday.

Oralia Ortega, reporting.