Ike evacuees in North Texas prepare to return home

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - More than 1,600 evacuees from Hurricane Ike who have been housed in North Texas will start returning to their homes along the Gulf Coast on Monday.

A City of Fort Worth spokeswoman says buses will pick up the South Texas residents from shelters in Tarrant, Hood, Johnson and Parker counties. Most of the Fort Worth-area shelters will be deactivated.

Storm evacuees will be returning to the Beaumont, Baytown and Houston areas.

More than 1 million people evacuated the Texas coast. State officials say more than half of some 37,000 evacuees in shelters at the height of Ike's aftermath were gone as of Saturday, and about 175 shelters remained open.

More than 439,000 families had registered for FEMA assistance in the wake of Ike as of Saturday, and about 9,300 were staying in government-funded hotel rooms.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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