Bredesen vows to ease Shelby County's burden - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bredesen vows to ease Shelby County's burden

Ninety percent of the hurricane victims that have fled to Tennessee are here in Shelby County.

That's why Governor Phil Bredesen was here today - he came to tell local officials that help is on the way.

The Moffetts fled to Memphis from Slidell, Louisiana, expecting to stay a few days. Instead, they're here indefinitely.

"I'm not sure if we're gonna have a job or a permanent place to stay or even if we are able to come back home at this time," said Jashonda Moffet.

The Moffetts are among between 10,000 and 15,000 hurricane victims finding refuge here in Shelby County. They went to the American Red Cross looking for basics like food and clothing.

"Today I've been trying to concentrate on these life and safety issues, making sure everyone has the basics they need, especially through this long weekend when many of the normal things are not open," said Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.

Bredesen signed an executive order, so hurricane victims can get the help that they need in this state - right away. The order suspends or changes a number of state laws that may otherwise have hampered relief efforts. Things like building and health codes, weight and size limits on trucks and certification for out-of-state health care professionals.

"This is not something you plan for, it's not typically part of the disaster plan, this is just something that has occurred and everyone is scrambling to try and take care of," said Bredesen.

There will be more to take care of as money runs out and more of the hurricane victims turn to public assistance.

A representative from Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says about 1,500 evacuees are in shelters across the state - more than 10,000 of them are staying in hotels. Obviously that gets expensive - and all of those people have to go somewhere.

In addition to those already here, Tennessee is bracing for another 10,000 to 15,000 hurricane victims.

Governor Bredesen says they will not be brought to Shelby County - they will go somewhere else in Tennessee.

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