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Evacuees in Suwannee County Concerned Over Red Cross Access

The county is covered under the Gainesville chapter, but officials say not having a representative on hand is keeping evacuees from getting the assistance they need.

Suwannee County Emergency Management says there are at least 51 families displaced by Hurricane Katrina currently staying in Live Oak.

Karen Barrilleaux, an evacuee from New Orleans, says, "We really need a lot of help. This community is wonderful and they're all pulling together to help us, but we need more help."

It’s help county coordinator Johnny Wooley says could come from the American Red Cross if there were a service center opened there. He says he's been told a representative from the north central Florida chapter would be stationed in Live Oak, but he has yet to see one.

Johnny Wooley says, "Until I get some communication from the chapter out of Gainesville, we're battling the problem of not being able to tell the people where they need to go get services."

Scott Barrilleaux, an evacuee from New Orleans, says, "It's like they don't even want to come down here. We're having more problems with getting medical attention. I'm not just speaking for my family."

Wooley says a local service center could answer uncertainties about the organization's hotel vouchers.

Delores Moore, also an evacuee from New Orleans, says, "The lady that owns the Hotel Express Holiday Inn says she still has not gotten paid and I'm worried about being out the next few days with no place to go."

Valerie Hamann, Jr. adds, "Had a few problems back and forth. One day the Red Cross would be there, one day the Red Cross wasn't there."

The emergency services director of the Gainesville Red Cross chapter, Kay Lenard, told Eyewitness News in a phone conversation that they have been there since evacuations began.


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