AUSTIN, Texas – With a quarter-million Katrina refugees already in Texas and more still pouring in, Gov. Rick Perry ordered emergency officials Sunday to begin preparations to airlift some of them to other states that have offered help.
Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt said officials at relief centers around the state say they are running out of room.
Aid centers will be set up at airports in Houston and Dallas where incoming refugees can be given food, water and medical care before they are flown to Michigan, Utah, West Virginia and Iowa, all of which have offered help.
Walt said West Virginia had sent C-130 cargo planes to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio to pick up more than 200 refugees.
Walt said the governor's office was contacting commercial airlines to help with the airlift. She could not say how many refugees might be taken to other states.
"Gov. Perry has been heartened by the number of governors who have called him," Walt said. "We have had local officials expressing concern they are nearing or at capacity for safely housing them. The governor wants to make sure everyone who comes here has a safe place to stay with food and water and then we can start moving them. They keep pouring in by the hour in Texas."