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Mississippi Communities Prepare for Evacuees

By Daniel Cherry | Published 27 Aug 2012 07:28pm | comments
As Mississippi and Louisiana residents flee the path of Isaac, communities throughout Mississippi are bracing for an influx of evacuees. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how preparations are being made as people and animals escape harm's way.
 
Many Mississippi Gulf Coast residents aren't waiting around to find out where Isaac will come ashore. Highways heading North from the coast have been packed since yesterday. Marika Cackett with the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau says most hotels in the Capital City are booking up quickly.
 
"Do not just show up and expect to get a hotel room. It's the best idea to absolutely call ahead. If you can't find something in Jackson, keep in mind the surrounding areas in Madison, Rankin County. If you have to go up to Canton... The point is to keep you and your family safe, so better safe than sorry."
 
For those moving their animals out of Isaac's path, the fairgrounds in downtown Jackson are open and can accommodate animals large and small, free of charge. Eric Ates manages the equine center.
 
"We're waiting to see how many evacuees that may be coming. We've already started getting calls yesterday. I've had calls from some people that have requested up to 15 stalls. We have accommodations for about 900 roughly for large animals as far as horse stalls."
 
Officials have issued mandatory evacuations for many low-lying areas on the Mississippi coast and New Orleans. Butch Hammack, Emergency Management Director for Madison County says, they have four shelters open to aid evacuees if full mandatory evacuations are ordered. 
 
"Due to the distance from the Coast, they stop here to buy fuel. By the time they get here, many of them are just tired, and if there's shelter space available, they're going to utilize it. But once the mandatory evacuation order is issued then we'll open the shelters up and have them available when they get here."
 
Emergency management officials are urging coastal residents to evacuate voluntarily before it's too late.

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