September 20, 2005
Letters from the field.
Southern Mutual Help Association’s Rural Recovery Task Force met with Secretary Cerise of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals on 9-20-05.
Representative Sydnie Mae Durand of District 46 called for the meeting after a helicopter assessment with SMHA and a later briefing of the Rural Recovery Task Force’s on-the-ground assessment of rural coastal parishes. The Task Force reported that potential serious health hazards from mold, infectious disease and toxic substances pose a potential secondary disaster even more complex and destructive than Katrina.
According to Secretary Cerise the DHH has focused intensively on the immense health hazards in New Orleans. He encouraged the Task Force to start a rapid response to mitigate health hazards to people returning to the rural areas. The Task Force is providing a hundred Safety Kits and instructions for use and urges immediate investment of State and National funding to distribute the kits to everyone returning to flooded businesses and homes. DHH is increasing its Public Service Announcements alerting to the serious health hazards in homes and small businesses that have been flooded.
SMHA’s Rural Recovery Task Force includes Wilma Subra and Oxfam America’s International Risk Management Humanitarian team.