Katrina evacuees dealing with Rita

After Hurricane Katrina passed by New Orleans and the city flooded, about half of the Jewish community set up shop in Houston, along with many of the city’s Jewish institutions.

Now, Hurricane Rita is bearing down on eastern Texas.

The United Jewish Communities sent national representatives to meet with representatives from Houston, New Orleans, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, to discuss disaster plans.

“Ironically, it was just a few weeks ago we had the opportunity to open our doors to the New Orleans community and other victims of Katrina,” said Lee Wunsch, director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. “Now, in concert with UJC, we are working with communities throughout Texas to support those of us who may need to evacuate or are impacted by Rita.”

UJC and the Federations in North America have already raised over $14.8 million in disaster relief. President Bush said on Wednesday that the Jewish community has been “on the forefront” of relief efforts and listed UJC as one of the agencies for people to support.

There have already been approved grants of $1 million by UJC for the Houston area, up to $1 million for Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and $50,000 in emergency aid for Jackson, Miss. The first third of the Baton Rouge/New Orleans grant was presented Sunday at a joint meeting of the two Federations in Baton Rouge.