Red Cross says Ike evacuee numbers falling

DALLAS (AP) - American Red Cross officials say the Hurricane Ike evacuee count in their Texas shelters is down to about 7,600.

That count had been as high as more than 40,000 in the days after the hurricane came ashore September 13th. But the relief agency said today it isn't sure how long Texas operations will last. Those efforts include food and help with basic needs for residents in some of the hardest-hit areas.

Joe Becker is senior vice president of disaster services for the American Red Cross. He says the Hurricane Ike relief operation won't be measured in weeks, but in months. He says fund-raising will be a "daunting task."

The combined costs of relief efforts for Ike and its Gulf Coast predecessor, Hurricane Gustav, could top 100 million dollars.

Becker says the agency has raised less than 20 million dollars for 2008 hurricane relief.

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

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