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Local History

Red Cross Shelter Sees Few Gustav Evacuees

As Hurricane Gustav made landfall Monday, there was a shelter set up in Springfield for evacuees. But as KSMU's Ben Fry reports, there wasn't a great demand for the shelter or its services.

At 1:30 on Monday afternoon, two projector screens in Remington's Entertainment Complex showed updates of Hurricane Gustav's landfall.

Their audience: 150 empty cots.

J.J. Travis is the Emergency Services Manager for the American Red Cross's Joplin Office.

She says some evacuees have stopped by but haven't yet decided to stay.

"People are coming in and saying they arrived here yesterday or the day before. They've been staying in hotels; I think they're starting to run out of money. They come into the shelter looking for a place to stay"

Travis says any evacuees will be provided with 3 meals a day, a place to sleep, showers, and arrangement for any pets to be sheltered.

With about a dozen volunteers, Travis says Monday afternoon was a relatively quiet one for Springfield's Red Cross, compared to the day before.

"This place was a beehive of activity. We had probably 20 or 30 volunteers here. You see a very scaled down version of what was going on yesterday"

That's because the shelter was expecting an influx of evacuees arriving by airplane.

But that didn't happen as Travis says the airports in Louisiana closed before the planes could fly out.

Despite the change of plans, Travis says the Red Cross has kept the shelter open to help out anyone displaced by the storm.

"It is better that we are opening here and not have to shelter anyone, than one person come to that door, and these lights be off and that door closed. We are here and we are going to welcome them, even if it's only one person."

For KSMU news, I'm Benjamin Fry.