Originally created 09/17/99

Evacuees abandon shelters



As soon as Hurricane Floyd left, its refugees left, too.

The 2,800 people in Augusta's 10 shelters didn't even stick around to eat, said Jana Hill, public affairs director for the Augusta chapter of the American Red Cross.

"When we got there with breakfast this morning, they were all gone," she said. "We have a truck with 1,500 boxed breakfasts and no one to feed them to."

By noon Thursday, shelters in Richmond and Aiken counties had emptied as thousands of evacuees answered the call of home.

Officials in Georgia and South Carolina lifted orders Thursday morning to evacuate the coast. Red Cross workers spent the afternoon collecting supplies and equipment, and trying to find storage for items donated during the storm, Ms. Hill said.

"We're just sort of winding up over here," she said.

More than 1,000 people wasted no time in evacuating Aiken County shelters. South Aiken High School, which had housed about 560 people, saw its number of evacuees dwindle to 75 by 8:45 a.m. At the same time, the shelter at Silver Bluff High shrank from 400 people to 12.

Reach Chasiti Kirkland and Brandon Haddock at (706) 724-0851.