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  • Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Gregoire announces Washington's response to hurricane

For Immediate Release: August 31, 2005

OLYMPIA – Aug. 31, 2005 – Gov. Christine Gregoire today announced Washington’s significant contribution to relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“We are coordinating with state and federal officials around the country to offer immediate assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina,” said Governor Gregoire. “We already have state employees and volunteers on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi and we are now preparing to mobilize National Guard personnel, as necessary, for missions in the gulf coast region. We are readying up to 600 National Guard personnel, but that number could change significantly one way or the other depending on need.”

Potential missions might include aviation, both helicopter and cargo/transport aircraft, tactical satellite-based communications systems and general-purpose logistical and humanitarian support. Washington’s Air National Guard KC-135 tanker fleet of aircraft from Spokane could be configured and utilized to transport people and equipment.

This action is made possible by legislation requested by the governor during the last session. The new law authorizes the governor to mobilize the National Guard for natural disaster missions outside the state like this one.

Governor Gregoire believes a coordinated response by all states is vital when disaster strikes any one state.

“On behalf of my family and the six million citizens of Washington, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy to the people of the gulf coast region whose communities have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina,” said Gregoire. “The scale of this disaster is simply overwhelming. The people of Washington state have a generous spirit and we will do all that we can, individually and collectively, to support the victims of the hurricane.”

Gov. Gregoire encourages people in Washington state to help with the relief effort as they are able. She cautions people, however, to make sure any donations are made to reputable organizations with a high percentage of funds going directly to services. The American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Northwest Medical Teams are among the many organizations participating in this effort with a proven history of delivering services directly to those most in need.

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