State evacuee plans put on hold

State evacuee plans put on hold Gov. Mike Rounds announced Sept. 12 that no Hurricane Katrina evacuees would be arriving in�South Dakota�in the near future.��The Federal Emergency Management Agency alerted the state this morning that flights to all states have been suspended. It is unlikely that any evacuees will be flown to�South Dakota�in the near future.

"I want to thank the citizens of�South Dakota�that have so generously offered their time, assistance and cooperation as we planned to receive evacuees," said Gov. Rounds.�"I am especially appreciative of the efforts of the non-profit organizations that stepped up to join local and state government agencies."�

On Saturday, Sept. 10, President Bush approved a disaster declaration for South Dakota. The declaration makes assistance available to state and eligible local governments for emergency protective measures that are undertaken to save lives and protect public health and safety. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 100 percent federal funding. This action provides emergency assistance and funds to those areas beginning on Aug. 29, and continuing. All 66 counties of South Dakota are included in the designation.

Currently there are approximately 40 displaced families that have come to South Dakota either through friends, family or church affiliation.��At the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a toll free number has been established�to provide as much information to evacuees as possible on any federal and state assistance that might be available to them.� The number in South Dakota is 1-877-999-5612.

Any individual wanting to help can become affiliated with an established disaster response organization, such as the American Red Cross, local Community Emergency Response Team, or denominational disaster response team. Individuals can also donate to the American Red Cross by contacting their local Red Cross chapter or visiting�and click on donate now.

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