From the Press-Register:
State and local emergency officials said they are looking into plans to provide ice following a hurricane after federal officials said earlier this year that they would no longer supply it.
FEMA head R. David Paulison surprised many coastal leaders when he announced in April that the agency would only distribute ice for medical emergencies or life-threatening situations.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has traditionally provided ice to disaster victims, particularly in areas with power outages.
The new policy comes after the federal government was left with nearly 85 million pounds of unused ice after Hurricane Katrina, which it stored for two years at a cost of $12.5 million.
As someone who lost power for 11 days following Hurricane Wilma, all I can say is It was several days before any of the stores had any ice, and the geniuses at FEMA sent most of the ice to Miami, where there were very few power outages instead of the Fort Lauderdale (Broward) area. Of course, that had nothing to do with the fact that Miami votes for people like Republicans, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers, as opposed to Broward County, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. It was hot as hell, and ice was more than just a comfort. There were countless people (many elderly) who needed ice to keep their medication cool. There were babies who needed milk. But enough of that, there’s more news from our buddies at FEMA.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The director of Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sunday defended giving away an estimated $85 million in hurricane relief supplies, blaming Louisiana officials for turning down the stockpiles.
A CNN investigation revealed last week that FEMA gave away 121 truckloads of material the agency amassed after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The material was declared surplus property and offered to federal and state agencies — including Louisiana, where groups working to resettle hurricane victims say the supplies are still needed.
After CNN reported on the giveaway, Louisiana officials asked that the supplies be redirected to the state, which originally passed on them. John Medica, director of the Louisiana’s Federal Property Assistance Agency, told CNN he was unaware Katrina victims still needed the items because no agency had contacted his office.
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, an outspoken critic of FEMA’s response to the hurricane, told CNN the supply giveaway was “just a shame.”
“It’s just another example of the failings of the federal bureaucracy,” said Landrieu, who wrote Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff last week to request an explanation.
Paulison said the story “just really missed the mark” — that the supplies given away were not exclusively for Katrina victims, but were “donated from disasters all around the entire country.”
But e-mails from [FEMA spokesman James] McIntyre and from the General Services Administration, which manages federal property, contradict Paulison’s account.
In an e-mail sent in April, McIntyre told CNN “in many cases, items were purchased in the field by FEMA.”
And in a phone interview with CNN, McIntyre said, “That is property that was purchased in response to Katrina. We purchased most of that equipment because of the catastrophic nature of that disaster.”
General Services Administration spokeswoman Viki Reath wrote the supplies given away were “surplus from the Katrina and [hurricane] Rita disasters… some purchased by FEMA, some donated by foreign countries and federal government agencies.”