23,000 Hurricane Refugees Expected at Astrodome

Astrodome
Around 23,000 evacuees are expected to arrive at the Astrodome. The refugees from the Superdome in New Orleans and will stay in the Astrodome indefinitely.

Thousands of evacuees are flooding the hotels and shelters of Houston, including an expected additional 23,000 to be housed in the Astrodome. The American Red Cross is in charge of preparing shelter and food for the influx of new refugees. Some of the challenges include providing enough portable showers and toilets. The Red Cross's Margaret O'Brian Molina says another big issue is containing that many people in small quarters.

The Astrodome schedule has been cleared through December, so it could potentially become a long-term shelter. However, Harris County Judge Robert Eckels says the facility can't handle that kind of crowd very easily.

Tim Kidwell is the director of disaster services at the Red Cross. He says although the Astrodome will be open to refugees from the Superdome, the burden on other shelters will continue to increase. As people run out of money to stay in hotel rooms, they'll be looking for other kinds of sheltering.

The Red Cross will continue to open shelters as they fill up. A number of churches and other organizations are also offering meals and temporary housing. Governor Rick Perry says Texas will do its best to meet the needs.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...