FEMA: No ice for you, little people! Now, go die!
Hurricane survivors are being put at risk in Texas and other hot weather states because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is no longer providing ice in relief situations, say watchdogs, relief workers and local leaders in Hurricane Alley.
But don't worry! Only babies, the sick, and the old will die!
Besides preserving food when electricity is out, ice is essential in maintaining temperature-sensitive medication and feeding formulas and keeping people cool in the aftermath of disaster, relief and support workers say.
Yeah, and so what?
In fact, while the federal government can deliver ice to disaster areas, it's chosen not to, under newly-revised FEMA rules. Instead, individual states and local governments are now tasked with purchasing, delivering and storing ice, even though they face tough logistical challenges in doing so, according to critics of the new policy.
A FEMA spokesperson said the policy change is a result of leftover ice after the 2005 and 2006 hurricane seasons, which the agency paid millions of dollars to store and then melt when it was no longer fit for consumption.
Another spokesperson said the new policy is part of "a smarter business model," in which states must provide ice themselves and then call in FEMA if there's trouble.
Smarter and better? Smarter why and better for who? Let's see:
And [Mike Womack, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency], who recalls having to tell Hurricane Katrina victims that there wasn't enough ice for them, strongly opposes the new policy, calling it "a lifesaving issue." He said that because neighboring states have to contract out their plans for ice, they are essentially competing against each other in the face of disaster.
"We would get into bidding wars with contractors and we may not be able to purchase as much as the larger states," said Womack. "Our state and probably a lot of other states need the assistance of the federal government in purchasing and distributing ice."
Lovely. They're doing this because it's profitable for the ice manufacturers.
They'd charge us to breathe the air if they could.
NOTE Via Susie.