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Supplies Table
Toiletries ready for the taking.

Three days into the Armory's new role as a temporary shelter, city officials have established a system for providing for evacuees' basic needs.

Some tables are set up with toiletries, clothes and shoes.

Others are staffed with people who can help residents apply for food stamps, Medicaid, family services and health care, including mental health.

Philip Terry, executive director of the D.C. Red Cross field office, said men and women sleep in separate quarters, and volunteers and visitors aren't allowed access.

Meals are prepared according to a fixed schedule, and residents have televisions to watch.

The mayor's office supplied residents with unlimited-ride Metro cards, and officials are working to get Nextel cell phones as well as secure lockers for residents to keep their mail.

"We just got a ZIP code today," Terry said, though he couldn't say what it was.

Lelia Abrar, communications director for the D.C. Department of Health, said 300 volunteers staff the Armory and keep it running. By Friday, 250 people had applied for Medicaid and 130 of them were already approved.

She said health workers are monitoring the residents closely to make sure no one had any symptoms of diseases they could have contracted from being in close contact with the toxic floodwaters in New Orleans.

No one has come down sick from the water, she said Friday, though a number of people were suffering diarrhea because they ingested contaminated substances.

The Armory is also housing five pets, including two dogs and a parrot, she said.


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Photos and text by April Chan
Published  Sept. 16, 2005

Banner graphic by April Chan, incorporating photo from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Newsline Web content edited by Chris Harvey; Capital News Service stories edited by Adrianne Flynn and Tony Barbieri.  

Copyright 2005 University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism

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