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Katrina Victims Right To Free Meals Violated

From the local Louisiana ABC affiliate, WBRZ:

NAACP: Rights violated at park

Cessation of meal services, propane delivery spurs charges

By SONYA KIMBRELL
Advocate staff writer
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.

“This is leading them to believe that they are going to be asked to leave,” Asanté said.

Asanté said the NAACP collected the affidavits of complaints from about 50 residents, and they plan to submit them to FEMA representatives.

Also, we’re keeping copies so that we can collect data to track the kinds of complaints for possible legal action down the road,” he said.

Cue Jackson, Sharpton and the ACLU.

(Thanks to IHateScams for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, April 22nd, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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