Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Congressman Harold Ford Offers Prayers, Support For Victims Of Hurricane Katrina

"Our prayers go out in plenty to the residents of the Gulf Coast and the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The federal support in response to this tragedy should be smart, coordinated and generous. President Bush's decision to tap the nation's emergency oil reserves is laudable, and hopefully it will benefit buyers at the pump.

"However, our immediate concern is the safety and health of residents in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. I would urge President Bush to dispatch a large team of federal public health officials, led by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to assist in assessing and responding to the growing public health problems posed by the flooding. Moreover, whatever military equipment is needed to expedite rescue missions should be deployed now. It is disheartening to watch children and seniors sitting atop homes waiting to be air lifted. The President should swiftly act to provide all military equipment needed to facilitate the rescue efforts.

"In addition, I am going to work with colleagues in the coming days to draft a bill that will accelerate the processing of insurance claims. The bill will also make sure that whether their homes have been damaged by wind or water, the victims of this storm have the resources necessary to rebuild. Congress rightly moved after 9/11 to assist the airline industry; this moment may require similar action.

"Again, the prayers of Tennesseans are pouring to our friends to the south of us. To the many generous Americans who have already given, thank you. I would encourage all who can give, to give."