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Blunt declares State of Emergency for MO

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By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, mO – Hurricane Katrina didn't physically hit Missouri, but Governor Matt Blunt on Sunday declared a state of emergency. That move is a way to free up state resources to hurricane victims who have relocated.

It also comes as St. Louis gets ready to welcome another group of evacuees. An old Boeing hanger at Lambert Airport is being readied with showers, cots, and supplies, and could start housing a couple thousand people, starting today (Tuesday).

The old Gumbo Jail in Chesterfield is also being reopened as a temporary refugee center.

Governor Blunt has also ordered the state's adjutant general to send more National Guard troops to the Gulf Coast, as needed. Under that second order, the state can be reimbursed for the Guard's time and equipment from the federal government.

So far, 1,400 Missouri National Guardsmen have been mobilized to help in hurricane relief. In Illinois, 500 more Illinois National Guard troops will head to Louisiana this week to join the 300 Illinois troops already there.

MPs IN NEW ORLEANS

Among the Missouri National Guardsmen already in the Gulf Coast are military police , who are living in a high school in suburban New Orleans that was damaged in the storm.

Some 560 members of the 175th MP battalion arrived Sunday in Metairie, just west of New Orleans. The school's damage includes parts of walls and the roof that were torn off. The gymnasium remains flooded.

In the coming weeks the MPs will provide security and traffic control as the anxious residents return to their homes.

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