Students, faculty and staff from The University of Texas at Austin are working with state and local officials to provide services related to the evacuation of portions of the Texas coast due to Hurricane Ike.
"We are committed to campus safety while also supporting the state's emergency response efforts," said William Powers Jr., president of the university. "As this weather event unfolds, the university continues to participate in emergency response discussions and is ready to provide assistance as needed."
The university is already providing support in several areas, including emergency management and health care:
- Gordon Wells and the Center for Space Research (CSR) are part of the Governor's Emergency Management Council, a group of state agencies and organizations that gather in the State Operations Center to organize the state's response to an impending disaster. The CSR team generates computer models that show approaching storms, display graphics that help determine evacuation routes and graphics that help first responders evaluate the situation. They developed the Special Needs Evacuation Tracking System that can monitor 3,500 vehicles and track up to 130,000 evacuees who are elderly, disabled or have other special needs and 40,000 pets and medical equipment.
- Students and faculty from the School of Nursing are assisting at the Medical Special Needs Shelter at the Austin Convention Center. The School of Social Work and College of Pharmacy are preparing lists of potential volunteers.
- The Office of Campus Safety and Security, along with the university's Police Department, are working with county and city officials in preparations for the possibility of severe weather and the influx of thousands of evacuees from the Texas coast.
- The Division of Housing and Food Service is allowing students to host immediate family members from evacuated areas in their dormitory rooms.
- The Volunteer and Service Learning Center is working to match student volunteers with hurricane relief opportunities in Central Texas.