Official: Clovis won’t receive Katrina victims

Staff and wire reports

Victims of Hurricane Katrina won’t be coming to Clovis after all, said Ken De Los Santos, emergency management director for the city of Clovis and Curry County.

De Los Santos said on Sunday he expected about 250 refugees from the storm would arrive in Clovis this week. But on Monday, he said a state official told him that Clovis would not be needed to house the storm victims.

Gov. Bill Richardson has freed $750,000 to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina who are arriving in New Mexico.

The governor signed an executive order Sunday that would enable 6,000 of those victims to come to New Mexico. He said the first 1,000 will be housed at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

It was not clear early Monday how many had arrived in Albuquerque.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Peter Olson said the notice came in from federal officials early Sunday that the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina were headed to Albuquerque.

“We’re scrambling how to figure out how to help them,” he said.

State officials were trying to identify places that can accommodate the evacuees, Olson said.

He said the plan is to find short-term housing for the evacuees then move them to a more permanent place.
Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas were all contacted as possible destinations for the evacuees, Olson said Federal Emergency Management Agency officials told him.

Then he said the agency asked him whether New Mexico could take the evacuees.

“We said, ’Sure, send them,”’ Olson said.