(Verbatim) PEARL – The Mississippi Department of Education has deployed more than 100 school buses for people who need to evacuate the Gulf Coast today. People living in FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes, Mississippi Cottages and others in flood hazard areas have been ordered to evacuate Jackson, Hancock and Harrison counties today. Also Hancock County, including the cities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland, has issued a mandatory evacuation for all areas south of Interstate 10 and areas north of Interstate 10 that flooded during Hurricane Katrina. This includes all residents living on rivers, river inlets, bayous, creeks, in travel trailers, modular homes, mobile homes, homes that are under construction and or partially constructed homes.
The buses will take evacuees to pre-designated shelters throughout the state. For transportation to the pickup locations for buses, Hancock County residents can contact the Emergency Operations Center at 228-466-8201. Residents may also call Coast Transit at 228-896-8080.
The pickup locations are as follows:
*Biloxi Jr. High School Irish Hill Parking Lot
*Biloxi High School Football Stadium on Richard Drive D'Iberville
*D'Iberville High School on Warrior Drive Gulfport
*Milner Stadium on 38th Avenue
*Good Deeds Center on Madison Avenue Long Beach/Pass Christian
*West Harrison County Community Center on West Espy Avenue Harrison County
*Lizana Elementary School on Lizana School Road
*Saucier Elementary School on 1st Street
*Harrison Central Elementary on Dedeaux Road.
The last bus will leave the coast at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Jackson Public School District has provided 60 regular buses and 10 lift buses for evacuations. Rankin County Public School District has provided 30 regular buses and 6 lift buses. Residents should continue to monitor local media for updates on any additional evacuation orders.
For more information call MEMA's Public Information Line at 866-519-MEMA or the Media line at 866-920-MEMA or visit http://www.msema.org. ###
The Sun-Herald has a story about the evacuees to Jackson:
South Mississippi residents continue to evacuate and seek shelter from Hurricane Gustav on Sunday night. CTA reported 440 people, three cats, one dog and two parakeets were evacuated on school buses to Jackson.
The state Department of Education and local school districts provided the buses to carry 440 people, well within CTA's capacity.
"We really didn't know how many we'd get," Coggin said. "We thought the outside number would be 1,500 for a Category 4 or 5 storm like Katrina, so this seemed about right."
Of the 440 people, 28 were transported as special needs evacuees after evaluation by the state Department of Health. Also, the state's veterinarian board provided help to check the pets that were transported.
The American Red Cross says that 682 residents have already been checked in to their shelters in Harrison County, with more waiting to be processed. The nine shelters have a capacity of about 5,000.