Wednesday, July 9, 2008

FEMA STOPS PROVIDING ICE IN EMERGENCY

Stateline - FEMA officials will no longer hand out ice to residents in the wake of a storm, leaving that responsibility to the states, the agency announced late last month. FEMA will provide ice only in medical emergencies or life threatening situations, but will reimburse states for a large part of their costs for providing ice.

State emergency officials in Alabama and Mississippi are worried about the lack of federal help and say they think ice is a critical necessity. Yet Florida officials, like FEMA, call ice a comfort item. State officials there say they aren't worried about the new policy, mainly because they believe private vendors are readily available.

Previously, FEMA purchased ice from national suppliers before a disaster and stored it in a number of facilities nationwide. They then transported and distributed it to victims. States could also buy and store their own ice locally on a more limited capacity. FEMA said the agency changed its policy because it decided states and local governments are in a better position to provide resources for victims.

Lauree Ashom, spokeswoman for Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency, said ice is an important commodity in the south, especially after a hurricane. "Heat is an issue," Ashom wrote in an e-mail g. "If there is no electricity and no likelihood of it being restored quickly, ice keeps food from spoiling and keep medicines cool."

Without ice, drinking water warms and people don’t drink as much, which leads to dehydration, said Lea Stokes, deputy administrator for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

"In the days after Katrina, (the temperature) was anywhere from the mid-90s to 100 degrees," Stokes said. Ice is a luxury item only "if you’re sitting in the air conditioning, not if you have hot water bottles," she said.

Many state and federal lawmakers criticized FEMA in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when the agency was left with nearly 85 million pounds of ice, which it stored for two years at a price tag of $12.5 million. Calls to the agency for comment were referred to its Web site.

1 Comments:

At July 9, 2008 7:33 PM, Anonymous united states of corruption said...

However FEMA will continue to award no bid contracts to vicious beasts ( See Blackwater brings in Israeli commandos to keep blacks in line). Somebody has to protect Boeuregarde and Blanche(!) even if they blew the levees! Louiana and Mississippi need more casinos.

 

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