Frustrated Evacuees Angry About Shelters

Conditions in some of the shelters opened to handle the nearly 2 million people who fled Hurricane Gustav have made some evacuees reevaluate their decision to leave their homes in the first place.

At a former Sam's Club in Shreveport, La., that was turned into a shelter for 2,800 people who were bused there, frustrations have reached a boiling point.

The bathrooms at the impromptu shelter are located in the parking lot and there are no showers. For many, a cot is hard to come by.

"I will go lay in the middle of the street and get me a blanket and pillow," one evacuee said. "That's how hard it is."

The residents of the shelter were driven to a nearby school today so they could bathe -- for the first time in four days.

Hurricane Evacuees

"They've got to bring us somewhere better," one evacuee said. "I'm going to start to cry."

Local officials said that the state has failed to provide enough food and showers for evacuees, forcing the city of Shreveport to foot the bill.

"There were some plans that were laid forth that in my evaluation that didn't receive the evaluation and scrutiny that they should have," Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover said. "The state is running facilities that simply are not adequate."

Hospitals Could Still Have to Evacuate

Although the state has already executed the largest medical evacuation in U.S. history, an additional 800 patients in Louisiana hospitals may have to be evacuated in the next few days, a governor's office spokesman told The Associated Press today.

Trey Williams, a spokesman for Louisiana's Gov. Bobby Jindal, cited lack of air conditioning as a reason for the evacuation of 12 hospitals across the state.

An additional seven nursing homes may still need to be evacuated, said Williams. The city of New Orleans could be reopened to citizens Thursday at the earliest.

President Bush also announced that he would be visiting the storm-wracked state Wednesday.

Earlier today, Jindal told evacuated residents that they would be safer in makeshift shelters for the time being rather than trying to return home, citing a lack of electricity, fuel and medical personnel.

Jindal said residents could return within days, but officials need to first ensure that debris has been cleared and essentials, including gas and power, are back on.

Just one day after Hurricane Gustav passed over Louisiana, largely sparing New Orleans, some 1.4 million homes remain without electricity.

The governor said state and federal authorities would coordinate with local officials to determine when parishes were safe enough for residents to return and begin the cleanup.

"When it comes to re-entry we defer to local leadership. Local parishes will determine when it's safe, and they will be announcing a tiered return of residents," Jindal said.

Echoing New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Jindal said, "Starting Wednesday, we will have our businesses…get set up and then sometime Thursday or Friday, it's my hope, that if things continue to go well, our citizens will come back."

The governor said new shelters would be established closer to the evacuated cities, so residents whose homes were damaged could live nearby as they rebuild.

Monday evening Hurricane Gustav passed through downtown New Orleans and as the rains began to recede, Nagin breathed a sigh of relief, telling evacuated residents eager to return home that this time around, "re-entry is only days away, not weeks away."

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