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SEMA Has Preliminary Count of Hurricane Refugees in Missouri

The State Emergency Management Agency is gathering information on how many people from hurricane affected areas are seeking help in Missouri. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The State Emergency Management Agency or SEMA has an estimate of how many victims of Hurricane Katrina have made their way to Missouri.

Susie Stonner is the spokeswoman for SEMA.

In addition to the evacuees who came to Missouri on their own, Stonner says the federal government is considering bringing refugees to the state.

A St. Louis official says the city is quote-99 percent ready for hundreds of Gulf Coast evacuees, who are expected to arrive this week.

The city has transformed one of its Lambert Airport hangars-formerly owned by Boeing-into a mini-city equipped with cots, showers, food, a clinic and a pharmacy.

City officials say evacuees will be airlifted to St Louis, processed, and allowed to rest at the modified hangar for up to four days before being transported to other parts of the metro area and throughout Missouri.

Susie Stonner with SEMA says for Missouri residents who are interested in helping people who are still in the affected areas, they need to donate money.

She discourages individuals from attempting to deliver supplies.

Stonner says if you're interested in helping, you need to go through an agency that has coordinated relief efforts.

She says without going through the proper channels, well-meaning people can add to the problems.

Some people from Southwest Missouri are already returning after working in areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

Ride the Ducks amphibious tours in Branson sent six staffers in two of the duck vehicles to New Orleans last week