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9,000 flood victims sheltered at Houston Convention Center

More victims expected; volunteers still needed

HOUSTON – About 9,000 flood victims spent Monday night at the George R. Brown Convention Center, the main shelter for the city of Houston.

Shelter spokesman Tom McCasland said about 5,000 people slept on cots, while the rest slept on cardboards and blankets.

McCasland, who is director of housing for the city of Houston, said things for the most part are going well, considering the circumstances.

"Things are under control. We had a very quiet night," he said. "With 9,000 people, you're going to have a couple of minor incidents. They've all been minor. People are sleeping well, even people sleeping on cardboard and blankets.

"(People) are tired, they're wet, they're exhausted. We've gotten them dry clothes. It's not your home, we understand that. But it is a shelter where people are safe. People are dry and people are out of the floodwaters, and that's what we need to be doing immediately."

McCasland said the Houston Police Department is on site and there is plenty of security presence.

He said that city, state and federal officials are working to ensure there is enough shelter capacity in the city.

"I think we all know we need additional shelters. I know we are looking at all available space that we have. The mayor is working hard on that," McCasland said.

There is plenty of food and water, a pharmacy and doctors onsite, including a makeshift emergency room.

The biggest needs at the shelter are plus-sized clothing, blankets and towels.

Donations can also be made at the nearest shelter. McCasland urged people not to risk their lives by driving to the convention center.

Volunteers are also in big demand. Anyone interested in volunteering are urged to sign up online at RedCross.org.


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