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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Crisis At Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota

Via an email from Hugh (thanks) I see that a blizzard in Wanblee, SD, at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, has left hundreds without electricity or running water.

Up to 200 people have been spending the night at the Crazy Horse school, at first without blankets or beds, cooking the school's food, diapering babies with old clothes, and trying to stay warm through power from a generator.

The makeshift shelter is being run by Pastor Gus Craven, who has also been helping residents make runs between their homes and the shelter, and who went to Kadoka Friday night on newly opened roads to get cots and blankets from that community's Red Cross.

He said he isn't sure when Wanblee will get power. On his trip to Kadoka he saw perhaps 20 downed power lines.

Most Wanblee residents don't have the gas or money to make the 56-mile round trip to Kadoka themselves, he said.

And some are afraid to leave, since there have been reports of people looting empty homes, he said. Craven said several families have dropped their elders and children off at the shelter and returned to their cold, dark homes to protect them from thieves.

Some relief came Saturday for the people at the shelter when the Black Hills chapter of the Red Cross sent blankets, water and toiletries. The state emergency management department planned to send food and diapers Saturday, said Russ Korzeniewski with the Red Cross. Craven didn't know Saturday evening if those supplies had arrived. He said the school was not out of food but there was not an excess, either.

Help apparently came after people at the shelter contacted state offices, where workers then contacted the Red Cross.

The South Dakota National Guard also helped with a Blackhawk helicopter on Friday, airlifting four dialysis patients out of the community to get medical attention at the Pine Ridge Hospital.

People living in rural areas on the reservation are without electricity and their food supplies and firewood are running low, Craven said.

From Keloland:

Families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are still without power and in need of supplies.

Organizers are looking for the following items to be donated: canned food, water, blankets, diapers (all sizes), baby formula, wood, propane, lamp oil, candles, flashlights, batteries (all sizes), matches, kerosene, gloves, toilet paper, baby wipes and soap.

If you have something to donate, you can drop items off at the Crazy Horse School in Wanblee. You can also call one of the following phone numbers for more information: 462-6784, 462-6580, 454-1452 or the Office of Economic Development in Pine Ridge at 867-5771 or 867-5600.

The email I received:

A blizzard at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in SD has left the people with no food, heat or help. No one is helping. No FEMA, no Red Cross, state or national response. The only help so far has come from a few groups online who have heard of the catastrphe. Can you help? Below is a list of persons/agencies I have contacted and sent to people I know in hopes they will contact them too.
Thank you for anything you can do.

Here is a list of organizations that you can contact to help these folks:

Red Cross:
Or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (EspaƱol)
SD Governor
Bureau of Indian Affairs:
Sen. John McCain
Gov. Sarah Palin
SD Sen Tim Johnson
SD Sen John Thune
SD Sen Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin
The President
The Vice President

Video, via YouTube, about the crisis below: