Gov. Bob Riley has declared an official state of emergency in Alabama due to the imminent threat posed by Hurricane Ivan.
The emergency declaration enables the Governor to invoke various emergency preparedness measures including Alabama’s price gouging law. Gov. Riley also encouraged residents along the coast in Mobile and Baldwin counties to move inland under a voluntary evacuation.
“Our number one priority is to make sure every precaution is being taken to save lives, protect property and get people in danger out of harm’s way,” Gov. Riley said in a briefing to the press at the state’s Emergency Operating Center in Clanton. “I want everyone in Alabama to know that their state government has been monitoring this hurricane for several days and that we are as prepared as we can be to face this potential disaster.”
Minutes before the briefing, the Governor met with his Cabinet and representatives of the Red Cross and National Weather Service to review the state’s emergency preparedness plans and receive the latest information on the hurricane’s course.
Gov. Riley said the evacuations as of Monday in Mobile and Baldwin counties are voluntary and that any decision on whether to make the evacuations mandatory would be done after consulting with local officials and taking into account the effectiveness of the voluntary evacuations.
“There may be no need for mandatory evacuations if these voluntary evacuations are successful in getting people out of harm’s way,” Gov. Riley said. He also said the state would be monitoring any price gouging and prosecute offenders.
“Gouging consumers during a time of crisis is an absolute outrage and will not be tolerated in Alabama,” the Governor added.
As of Tuesday morning, the storm has already left more than 60 dead in its wake as it moved across Jamaica, Grenada and other islands. Grenada was the hardest hit, claiming 37 people killed by the storm.
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