October 5, 2005
State Representative Sydnie Mae Durand, Chair of the Louisiana House Committee on Health and Welfare was at Erath City Hall on Tuesday, October 4, 2005 and at Jean Lafitte City Hall on October 5, 2005 to give out health and safety re-entry kits to residents cleaning their homes and businesses. “We need to avoid a disaster after the disaster,” said Representative Durand. “Our families are working in most instances without proper protection against mold, bacteria and other hazardous exposures. They could suffer immediate, serious and long-term health effects at a time when our health care system is already under stress or destroyed,” said Representative Durand.
“We have requested FEMA and Red Cross to issue health and safety re-entry kits with health information and alerts. So far we’ve not been successful in getting them to issue the kits,” Durand said. The Rural Recovery Task Force of the Southern Mutual Help Association, in partnership with medical doctors from Oxfam America and environmental consultant Wilma Subra is making some re-entry kits available. The team hopes to demonstrate the urgency of having such health and safety re-entry kits.
Representative Durand continues to request that FEMA and the Red Cross issue a half million such kits to avert a health disaster as families re-enter contaminated areas to clean up and recover any of their possessions.
Dr. Miriam Aschkenasy of Oxfam America, experienced in international disaster, has been available at these events to answer questions on potential health hazards related to re-entry into impacted areas.