Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wisconsin readies hurricane response

The Federal Emergency Management Agency suspended efforts to transfer hurricane evacuees from the devastated Gulf States to Wisconsin and other states Wednesday.

"We are on stand-by mode right now," said Jane Larson, a public information specialist for Wisconsin Emergency Management. "As of [Tuesday] evening, any efforts to move people from Texas to other states are on hold."

According to a release, hurricane survivors want to remain as close to their homes and families as possible. In addition, FEMA and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact have asked for more time to work through their plans for transporting hurricane victims.


Gov. Jim Doyle announced Monday the state could take in at least 1,150 people from the Gulf-area states, and more than 500 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers were deployed to the area last week.

"The Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center at State Fair Park has 950 beds, and there is room at South Milwaukee Community Center that would house about 200 people," Larson said.

So far, approximately 130 people have sought shelter in Wisconsin independently — 30 at State Fair Park and 100 elsewhere — but they were not part of an organized relief effort, Larson said. Milwaukee Public Schools have offered to enroll the nearly 20 school-aged children who have arrived at the park.

Larson said several people have made attempts to bring busloads of refugees from the ravaged area, independent of emergency organizations, but they have not been successful.

"People have very good intentions," Larson said. "But this will be going on for months. It is very heart-wrenching and these people will be needing help for a long time."

In addition to these efforts, Wisconsin Public Services and several energy and electric cooperatives throughout the state have sent workers to the South to help.

Wisconsin corporations like the Miller Brewing Company and Harley Davidson have made cash donations upward of $1 million and have also donated goods like bottled water.

"The greatest need right now is for money," Larson said, "but there have been requests for pet and livestock supplies in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana as well."

Jane Richardson, director of community development for the Badger chapter of the American Red Cross, said, as of Tuesday, more than $409 million has been collected in cash donations and pledges nationwide.

"It is difficult to know how much money has been given in Wisconsin alone because donations are constantly coming in," Richardson said. "In one day, we collected $40,000."

Along with cash contributions, Richardson said people looking to help hurricane victims can donate blood.

However, Larson said, those looking to help should be wary of charity scams.

Glen Loyd, a public information officer with the state Consumer Protection Division, said there have been cases of fraud related to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

"Already there are rip-off artists using the Red Cross logo … for sending e-mails asking for money," Loyd said.

There have been occurrences of websites claiming to be collecting money to help with the hurricane cleanup that are also shams, Loyd added.

FEMA recommended donating money directly to the Salvation Army, American Red Cross or Catholic Charities.

"We at Consumer Protection urge that people use charities at local churches or community centers that they know they can trust," Loyd added.

Loyd also said people posing as volunteers have been calling citizens asking for money for the relief effort.

"Don't give money to anybody who calls on the phone or sends an e-mail," Loyd said. "It is very easy to find and contact the Salvation Army and Red Cross, so it would be best if people just contact these organizations themselves rather than donating when they get a phone call or an e-mail."

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