Friday, September 23

Blanco says responders ready

Gov. Kathleen Blanco just said disaster response officials from Calcasieu and Cameron parishes will join a group of state and federal officials — dubbed “Task Force Rita” — in Alexandria.

Emergency response operations for Southwest Louisiana will be run from the Alexandria center, Blanco said at a news conference in Baton Rouge broadcast live by Shreveport television station KSLA.

The governor said 4,000 National Guard troops, supplies and equipment have been positioned in Oakdale, Ville Platte and Lafayette. The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has 135 boats ready to rescue stranded survivors after the storm, with more available if needed, she said.

Blanco said she expected few rescue missions following Rita because 98 percent of Cameron Parish had been evacuated.

“I’m confident in our efforts to prepare for this storm,” Blanco said.

Jeremy Harper
American Press Staff Writer

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