Thompson: PR was priority after Katrina

“The Bush administration’s delayed action on testing these trailers is absolutely unacceptable,” said Thompson. “Clearly, the old FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] was more worried about media relations than they were about the health of the families they are charged with serving.”

Officials announced in early 2008 that nearly one-third of the trailers provided to the hurricane victims, two years prior, had significant formaldehyde problems. By allowing so much time to pass, the report states, the people in the trailers could experience health concerns.

“Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials, in our opinion, did not take sufficiently prompt and effective action to determine the extent of the formaldehyde problem in the emergency housing units once they were aware that such a problem might exist,” the report states.

“FEMA did not display a degree of urgency in reacting to the reported formaldehyde problem, a problem that could pose a significant health risk to people who were relying on FEMA’s programs.”

Thompson called on President Obama to provide those people affected by the high levels of formaldehyde with the healthcare they need to get better.

The Hill

hattip Catty