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Home >> World
UPDATED: 13:15, September 03, 2005
Hurricane victims pour into Houston of US
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"I have never seen such a hurricane. I thought we would be safe," Byron Phillips, a victim of Hurricane Katrina, told Xinhua at the Astrodome stadium in Houston, in the southern US state of Texas, on Friday.

Phillips was one of the more than 12,000 survivors of Katrina, which pounded southern United States last week, claimed at least 200 lives, destroyed many houses, and left much of New Orleans, Louisiana, under water.

Most of New Orleans's nearly 500,000 residents were evacuated before it was hit by the hurricane early Monday morning, but many,like Phillips, ignored the warning and chose to stay at home.

Phillips, who was in his late 50s, said he heard a whistle before the flood came, and managed to escape with his family in time, leaving everything behind.

"I am now homeless. My home is under water," he sighed.

An estimated 100,000 victims of Hurricane Katrina have arrived in Houston, the largest city in the southern US state of Texas, and the city is opening two more giant centers for the evacuees, Mayor Bill White said Friday.

As many as 12,000 hurricane victims have arrived at Astrodome, the first ballpark in the world to have a roof over its playing field, which was built in 1965 and can hold as many 50,000 spectators, a police officer inside the gigantic stadium told Xinhua.

Astrodome has been filled to its capacity, and could not accommodate more victims, he said.

As much of New Orleans was flooded, and it would take months before the water could be dried, the victims "probably would have to stay here for months," he said.

To accept more hurricane survivors, White said the city would open a convention center and an exhibition hall, and conventions for the coming weeks were canceled.

"We see the tragedy which is ongoing in New Orleans, and we are doing the best we can to make sure when people get to Houston they have a decent place to stay," White said.

Inside Astrodome, hundreds of cots were set up in lines to accommodate the hurricane victims, but only the early arrivals could get one. Those who came late, including Phillips, had to wait on the stand for their turn.

Phillips, nevertheless, was lucky enough to know that other members of his family were safe and sound in Mississippi. Many others were crowding before a wall opposite to the main entrance, reading notices looking for their dear ones.

Texas has opened 56 shelters for hurricane victims, and Governor Rich Perry has mobilized 1,000 state National Guard, "11 News," a local news channel, reported.

Source: Xinhua

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