Homes evacuate in anticipation of Hurricane Rita

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Several nursing homes and hospitals began evacuating residents and patients Wednesday as Hurricane Rita gained strength and roared through the Gulf of Mexico, appearing to head for the Texas shore.

Facilities in Galveston, TX, and vulnerable parts of Houston were heeding the mandatory evacuation orders for all residents. Rita sideswiped the Florida Keys as a Category 2 storm and picked up steam in the Gulf.

In the wake of the deaths of numerous nursing home residents in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, facilities along the Texas Gulf Coast, with the help of authorities, rushed to get the old and infirm out of the area. Residents of the Edgewater Retirement Community in Galveston, for example, were told by the home's operator to either go with a family member or use the buses or ambulances officials had arranged to evacuate the more than 200 nursing home residents and retirees from the facility.