Evacuees Head to Shelter - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Evacuees Head to Shelter

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RAPIDES PARISH, La. - As Isaac inches closer to the Gulf Coast, here at home, preparations are underway for evacuees at the LSU AGCenter emergency shelter.

People worked through the night, setting up cots and preparing for anybody who needs to come all the way up to Alexandria to seek shelter.

News Channel Five's Brooke Buford has been following the shelter through the night. She has the latest.

It was around the clock preparations Sunday night as workers hustled to get the LSU AGCenter emergency shelter ready for evacuees.

"We needed to get to the shelter and set up at least 100 cots within an hour, 500 by midnight," said Moody Tradewell, who's overseeing the shelter for the Department of Children and Family Services. "In reality, this had been a conversation for the entire day that we had been conversating back and forth knowing that something was happening and on the way and just waiting for the word to go."

Workers got the call to get the shelter ready at 4 p.m. They needed to have about 2,000 cots set-up by morning, similar to disaster relief plans in the past.

"Last year during the river flooding, we set up two sections of the shelter for critical transportation needs," said Tradewell. "Which basically means that these folks do not have a ride and they have to be bused into the shelter. We set up two sections and we could have take 1,927 evacuees."

Several different agencies are stepping up to help, including the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office and the Office of Public Health.

"We're going to have an issue with traffic," said Sheriff William Earl Hilton, with RPSO. "State Police have asked us to help with the traffic. If that center gets full, then there will be other centers opening up in Rapides Parish and I think there are already plans for four more to open. We will be assisting with that."

"The Office of Public Health is mandated to run the medical special needs shelters," said Dr. David Holcombe with the Office of Public Health. "These are shelters for people who have medical needs. It's mostly people who would have home health type problems. This could be dialysis or wound care or tube feeding or unstable diabetes."

Right now, the workers inside are a part of skeleton crews, but more are on standby just in case. They'll be watching the weather and waiting and will soon know, if this empty shelter could be home to thousands by the end of the week.

"If it's a lot? Who knows?" said Tradewell. "We're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best."

At our last update, the shelter reported having about 40 people inside.

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