Louisville turns focus to hosting Ryder Cup instead of more evacuees - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville turns focus to hosting Ryder Cup instead of more evacuees

Louisville will not host any large groups of evacuees from Hurricane Ike this week or next week.  Money, tired volunteers and the Ryder Cup are some of the reasons why.

People who fled Hurricane Gustav spent nine days in the South Wing of the Expo Center.  Local leaders and the Red Cross say that scene won't happen for the next storm.

Workers have sanitized the cots and packed away the supplies.  The last of the Hurricane Gustav evacuees flew home Sunday.  The mayor says the feds may send fewer than two dozen people to Louisville in advance of Hurricane Ike.

"We would be one of those communities that would take upwards of 10, 15 and maybe 20 patients at the most that would come in through the National Guard portal to one or another of our hospitals," said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

That's a big change from the 1,500 people from Louisiana housed at the Expo Center.  That's the first of several reasons any large numbers of evacuees from Ike will go elsewhere.  Money is another.

"We'll spend over $200,000 on the disaster relief operation that we had," said Brian Quail, Louisville Red Cross chapter CEO.

Locally, that money is a big hit to the Louisville chapter's budget.

"At this point in time, given the things that are going on in our community, we would not step up.  But at the same time we would be able to handle those local disasters that we have.  Local disasters would include smaller-scale events such as house fires," said Quail.

Also, the expo center is booked, so there's little space available.  The city says it would be stretched to help because its resources are promised for the Ryder Cup next week.

It is adding up expenses for police, firefighters, EMS, TARC and health department workers assigned to the Gustav evacuees.  The feds will get the bill.

The state expo center is also counting up its expenses.  And it has no idea when FEMA will repay them.  But tax dollars will not repay the Red Cross and other private relief groups.

Those groups ask for donations.  You can access the Red Cross through newslinks on the left side of this page. 

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