(Reuters) - More than 300 inmates from a Texas federal prison damaged in an uprising on Friday were relocated on Sunday and hundreds more will be moved later in the day, said a private contractor who operates the prison.
The inmates at the Willacy County Correctional Center in Raymondville, Texas are being transferred to other U.S. Bureau of Prisons facilities in a process that will continue next week, said Issa Arnita, spokesman for Management & Training Corporation.
"Inmates continue to be fully cooperative with the relocation efforts," Arnita said in a prepared statement.
Damages to the prison will be assessed when the inmates are gone so that repairs can begin, Arnita said. "Initial assessments indicate significant damage to the plumbing and heating and cooling systems," he said.
The prison about 40 miles (64 km) from the Mexican border primarily holds people who have entered the United States illegally.
The unrest began on Friday when prisoners refused to come to breakfast or report for work to protest problems with medical services at the facility, the Express-News newspaper and local broadcaster KGBT-TV reported.
The inmates broke out of their housing structures and converged in the recreation yard, setting fire to several Kevlar domes, or tents, that serve as prison housing, the newspaper said.
The situation was largely under control by Saturday but as many as 2,800 inmates will have to be moved, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said in statement published by KGBT.
A Bureau of Prisons spokesman did not immediately return a call for further comment on Sunday.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, editing by David Evans)