Another FEMA 'knee-slapper'
An environmental group says thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi and Louisiana may be living in unsafe conditions after tests it conducted showed dangerous levels of formaldehyde in some government trailers.
The Sierra Club on Wednesday asked for a congressional hearing after it claimed that 30 out of 32 Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers it tested had levels of formaldehyde that were unsafe.
“We started doing this testing because people were getting sick, having nosebleeds and having constant coughs,” said Mississippi Sierra Club spokeswoman Becky Gillette. “The government is making people sick. They are putting people back in harm’s way.”
When I first saw this story, I thought it was an attempt by FEMA to lay blame at the feet of residents for FEMA’s past failures and their own unpreparedness in advance of the upcoming hurricane season.
But then I saw it was from a survey conducted by the NOAA National Hurricane Center and director Max Mayfield, whose credibility is pretty much beyond reproach and whose only motivation is to save lives. (You may recall there was video of him warning President “No one could have anticipated” Bush that Katrina’s storm surge would top the levees.)
Here are some findings from the survey:
* 56% don’t feel vulnerable to a hurricane or related tornado or flooding,
* 60% have no family disaster plan,
* 68% have no hurricane survival kit,
* 83% have taken no steps to make their homes stronger,
* 13% said they might not or would not evacuate even if ordered to leave â€” leaving tens of thousands of residents at grave risk.