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City assisting hurricane victims

The Kansas City, Mo., Emergency Operations Center has been activated at Level I to coordinate the City’s hurricane relief efforts. Level I is the lowest level, and will be staffed by Emergency Management personnel only. The EOC will likely operate at this level 24 hours per day through the holiday weekend. This activation is required, in part, because the state EOC in Jefferson City has been activated.

Emergency Manager D.A. Christian is in regular contact with the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency and has offered the City’s assistance with all potential needs.

The American Red Cross will open a service center tomorrow for victims of Hurricane Katrina at the Gregg Community Center, 1600 John "Buck" O'Neil Way . The service center will open at 8 a.m. The Red Cross will have several case workers available to help evacuees find basic support, including food, shelter, medicine, and essential items.

The community center also may be used to provide shelter to hurricane victims. The center has been placed on standby to serve as a shelter for evacuees that come to Kansas City. Local Red Cross workers report that they have had some walk-ins, but the victims have taken shelter with local families. However, the private residences may be inadequate to sustain prolonged shelter and the victims may need to move to the community center.

The City also is preparing to assist in providing long-term shelter for other hurricane victims who may be transported to Kansas City. The Mayor’s Office is coordinating a large group of housing partners to develop a hurricane refugee housing plan. Mayor Kay Barnes hopes that the group can develop a coordinated housing plan to provide rental units and rental assistance. A news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. today on the 10th floor of City Hall, 414 E. 12 th St. A joint plan to provide a minimum of 250 units of housings in the Kansas City area beyond transition housing or emergency shelter will be announced.

In other efforts:

    • The City’s Purchasing Office is assisting the purchasing department in the State of Mississippi to provide needed items such as generators, body bags, batteries and T-shirts. The City will contact the state purchasing departments in Louisiana and Alabama to offer assistance to those states also.

    • On August 31, the City and MAST Ambulance assisted Children's Mercy Hospital in receiving and transporting evacuees at the Downtown Airport, and escorting them to the hospital. The Kansas City Fire Department dispatched two Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting teams from Kansas City International Airport to Downtown Airport to ensure a safe landing for the children and families. Members of the Kansas City Health Department’s Emergency Medical Services division provided logistics support and medical control. MAST called in 32 additional personnel, and sent 11 ambulances to assist with evacuating patients to the hospital.

    • The Water Services Department yesterday provided 31,000 bottles of its City of Fountains premium bottled water to Heart-to-Heart International to transport to hurricane victims.

    • A Kansas City Fire Department deputy chief and one firefighter have been dispatched to serve as the safety officer for one of the Urban Search and Rescue teams. The fire department also is preparing to send nine two-person firefighter teams for Federal Emergency Management Agency community outreach.

    • City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen sent a personal message to City employees informing them of how they can help by making donations to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, or other reputable national relief organizations.

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