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Louisiana evacuees in Tyler still don’t know when they can safely return home

Leslie Velasquez Santiago and her family getting in the car to leave their hotel for a bit. The...
Leslie Velasquez Santiago and her family getting in the car to leave their hotel for a bit. The family has been in Tyler for a week now because of Hurricane Ida and say they don't know when they'll be able to return.(KLTV)
Published: Sep. 5, 2021 at 1:08 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Louisiana license plates are still being seen in Tyler at gas stations, hotel parking lots, and restaurants. Many evacuees are still in town and waiting to hear when they can go home.

“I have three kids, my husband, I have pets. We had to come with everyone,” said evacuee Leslie Velasquez-Santiago.

She and her family evacuated from Kenner, Louisiana and have been in Tyler for a week.

“We don’t when we are coming back so far. There are no lights in the house. It’s very hot. Everyone is telling if you are in someplace else from Kenner, stay there because there is no way to get food,” Velasquez\-Santiago said.

Her husband had to go back to check on pets they couldn’t bring, and they were okay. When he saw the house, “He noticed that the carpet was flooded, all wet, the whole house,” she said. “I believe the water was like this amount because you can see the furniture, there were many furniture that is no longer well, so we had to throw it away.”

She said they’ve stayed in the hotel most of the time and have made it to local parks. Her family is hoping FEMA can help but added the $500 will only go so far.

“That will just help us like for maybe three days in a hotel, three to four days at the most. So we have to take out money from our pockets, maybe money from the taxes or something that we received. My husband is not working because he cannot go to work right now,” Velasquez-Santiago said. “It’s difficult. Many people is living in really difficult stuff.”

We’ve heard from some evacuees in Longview that they are having to come to Tyler because the Longview hotels are filling up, and they cannot extend their stay.

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