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Oklahoma City Evacuees Support Shelter Situation Update 4

Situation Update
September 5, 2008


The City of Oklahoma City and community agencies are providing temporary shelter and critical services for individuals evacuated from New Orleans, Louisiana and the surrounding area.

Shelter Population

670 people and 20 pets

Return to Louisiana

Preparations are being made through the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management to coordinate transportation of evacuees back home.

Nineteen buses carrying 914 passengers departed from the shelter today. All passengers received care packages which included sodas, crackers, cookies, two meals, two bottles of water and safety and social security information to read on their ride home. The YMCA also donated toys to occupy children on the road.

Departures will continue through Friday or Saturday, depending on damage in the evacuee’s parish. Louisiana is responsible for releasing evacuees.

New Services Provided

Alcoholics Anonymous is offering meetings and Pastor George E. Young, Sr. with Holy Temple Baptist Church led spiritual music on Wednesday night. Department of Veterans Affairs manned an onsite information desk.

Volunteers and Workforce

More than 817 people have volunteered/worked at the shelter since Sunday, August 31. Volunteer efforts are being led by the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission and Baptist Disaster Relief.


Guests are provided three hot meals daily – about 19,450 meals have been served so far. The Salvation Army is providing breakfast through Monday, should it be necessary. Snacks and cold bottled water are provided throughout the day. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is preparing lunch and dinner. Volunteers with the American Red Cross are serving and coordinating the meals.


The Tulsa and Central Oklahoma chapters of the American Red Cross and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management have more than 4,000 cots and blankets available to evacuees.


Portable showers and handicap accessible toilets are provided. More than 2,000 showers have been taken by guests. Hand sanitizer is also widely available throughout the facility, and guests are encouraged to take advantage of the sanitizer for everyone’s wellness. The Red Cross is providing comfort kits with toothpaste, body gel/shampoo and razors. Laundry service is provided.

Oklahoma City-County Health Department staff is making sure that food service areas meet health code standards. The health department is also monitoring shower facilities and other public areas to ensure the health of the guests. Nurses and epidemiologists are monitoring the overall health of the guests and if a problem is detected the EMSA medical staff onsite is notified.


The Medical Emergency Clinic has changed its hours of operation to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health, EMSA, American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps continue to support evacuees through the operation of a medical clinic. The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) has provided 102 volunteers to provide assistance for the clinic, as many as 68 per day. The OU College of Pharmacy and Integris Health have also provided critical assistance in meeting needs.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has also collaborated in supporting 30 patients evacuated from Louisiana hospitals through the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).

Trained staff and volunteers with OKDHS are attending to those with special needs, such as wheelchairs and sign language services, as well as providing mental health services.

Medical Statistics

  • Transports to area hospitals: 79
  • Evaluated: 945 people; 440 were treated for conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and psychiatric disorders
  • Caseworkers through the Red Cross and Sunbeam Family Services are providing mental health evaluations and actively searching for anyone in distress.
  • EMSA has an onsite pharmacy with the help of OMRC. Volunteer physicians from Feed the Children are on site and have filled approximately 580 prescriptions.
  • Medical Crew: 7+ includes staff from EMSA and OMRC
  • Ambulance providers on site: 3

Child Services

Baptist Disaster Relief is providing a children’s activity center, caring for children ranging from infants to 7 year-olds. The Salvation Army has provided eight basketball goals and board games for families. Inflatable toys and movies (with a big screen) are provided for the older kids. Volunteers trained to assist children in traumatic situations are available.

Safety and Security

The Oklahoma City Police Department has 15 officers stationed inside the facility to provide security to guests and volunteers. COLERT (Central Oklahoma Law Enforcement Response Team) has 10 additional law enforcement personnel outside of the facility.

The Edmond Police Department is coordinating and supervising the outside security of the facility. All guests are allowed to come and go; however, they are asked to abide by a nightly curfew. Gates close nightly at 9 p.m. and reopen at 7 a.m. Guests will not be able to enter the shelter during this time.


Members of the State Department of Agriculture and City of Oklahoma City Animal Shelter continue to care for guests’ pets. The onsite pet shelter provides a temporary home for 20 pets. Pet owners have access to their pets throughout their stay at the shelter.


Self-evacuees should call 2-1-1 if they need assistance.


Monetary donations are best. The shelter does not need any donations of clothing, toys or other items. Citizens are encouraged to make a donation to the relief agency of their choice. The American Red Cross has spent $20 million in relief efforts for Hurricane Gustav across the southern states.

The United Way of Central Oklahoma and The Oklahoman provided newspapers to guests this morning. The United Way and Oklahoma City’s Information Technology Department provided streaming video from Louisiana TV stations. They are also providing taxis to and from local hospitals and pharmacies, on a needs basis. The United Way is working with area social services providers to evaluate unmet needs on a short-term and long-term basis.

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