Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jee-bus kay-ryst

Updated Just on Friday I noted the Congressional hearing about the unsafe levels of formaldehyde in trailers supplied by FEMA to refugees from Katrina.

Okay, also on Friday KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma reported this:
FEMA trailers arrive for flood victims in Miami, Oklahoma. They're intended as shelter. But are they safe? ...

We talked to Miami city officials and the FEMA spokesman in Miami. Neither of them can tell us if these trailers in Miami are the same ones that are suspect from Hurricane Katrina. ...

Miami city officials appeared to be aware of the formaldehyde concern, but flatly refused to comment until they say, they learn more from FEMA.

The FEMA spokesman stationed in Miami said he didn't know anything about the formaldehyde issue and said there was no one he could call to find out about it. He did say that none of the trailers in Miami had been given to anyone yet. ...

The people we talked to in Miami did not indicate whether the Miami trailers will be checked for unsafe levels of formaldehyde.
After the complaints, after the urgings from field staff, after the illness, and in the face of Congressional hearings, they don't even know if they're going to check the trailers. My god.

When I first wrote about Katrina, I raged about the cruel indifference that marked the response. Apparently I was wrong: It wasn't indifference, it was considered policy, one still being pursued.

Oh, wait, no, I've got it all wrong. After all, KOTV said that
David Paulison said all trailer occupants would be notified about possible dangers.
Ah. They're going to tell a family which has nowhere else to go what its members already know: The "temporary" homes in which they and 65,000 other families have been stuck for nearly two years are making them sick. Well, that's all right then.

Updated with the information that on Thursday the Centers for Disease Control issued a Health Advisory to its Health Alert Network about the problems with the trailers and stating that if anyone living in one of those trailers "presents with respiratory symptoms, formaldehyde exposure should be considered as a contributing factor." Which makes FEMA's reluctance to even check for the problem all the more outrageous. (Thanks, Donna.)

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