April 22, 2006

New 'Rights' for Katrina Victims

Sweetness & Light discovers some new rights, courtesy of the Louisiana chapter of the NAACP:

NAACP: Rights violated at park

Cessation of meal services, propane delivery spurs charges

Advocate staff writer
Published: Apr 22, 2006

Emergency officials in Baker asked for cooperation from FEMA Thursday, to make plans to evacuate Renaissance Village in the event of an emergency.

The NAACP collected affidavits Friday from residents at the FEMA Renaisssance Village in Baker that contain complaints alleging lack of services, harassment and intimidation.

Kwame Asanté, director of the Louisiana chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said NAACP representatives have been going to the village council meetings.

“There are a lot of people who feel that their rights have been violated,” Asanté said Friday afternoon.

About 1,650 hurricane evacuees have been living at the 572-unit trailer park on Groom Road since it opened in October. Most residents signed an agreement that would allow them to live in the park for 18 months.

Initially, FEMA provided three meals daily in a communal kitchen and paid for the propane that is necessary to run the trailers.
The trailers have electric lights but propane is used for bathing, cooking, refrigeration and heat. FEMA stopped providing propane in February and ended the meal service two weeks ago.

Transportation is an issue for many residents, especially older ones, who don’t have vehicles.

“Many of these people lived in communities (before Katrina) where they didn’t need a vehicle. We’d just like to see the government change the way we address these situations,” Asanté said.

According to a news release from the NAACP, James Ross, president of the village council, said the residents’ complaints center on the promise from FEMA that they would receive 18 months of assistance with meals and propane.

Ross and other residents also have complained that FEMA representatives have been asking residents for proof that they are looking for employment and seeking other places to live.

Thou hath the right to free meals, free propane and freedom from questions while on the public dole. I am second to nobody in my sympathy for Katrina sufferers but I also believe in self-reliance. I understand that many will have a difficult time getting back on their feet again, but ultimately they will only be able to overcome their suffering is through their own energies. I applaud FEMA for making sure they are trying to do just that. If FEMA promised them 18 months of free food and propane, they should receive 18 months of free food and propane. But it is by no means a right. It is a gift.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's new series of podcast conversations on this very thing at propanecast.com ... what happened right after Katrina, what went wrong, and how lives are getting back to normal. A mississippi doctor they talk to hasn't moved his family back home yet, and it's incredible that hes flying to see them every weekend. Also, there's footage from Camp Katrina, a temp colony for those who lost their homes.

Wed Apr 26, 03:24:00 PM  

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