Gulf Coast Declared Health Emergency
Associated Press | August 31, 2005
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID
Federal officials declared a public health emergency for the entire Gulf Coast Wednesday, calling life in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina "very dangerous." They rushed food, medicine and water to the victims as part of a wide-ranging government rescue-and-relief response.
Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said his agency is concerned about potential disease outbreaks and was sending medical experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He urged residents of the coastal area to boil water and follow food safety precautions as well as to avoid situations that might lead to carbon monoxide poisoning from electricity generators.
He also said that mental health personnel were being sent to the area.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said: "The situation in all affected areas remains very dangerous."
Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said his agency is working to restore highways, airports, seaports and oil pipelines in the region. And he said generators are being moved to pipeline pumping stations to restore the flow of oil to the region.
Environmental Protection Agency director Stephen Johnson said anti- pollution standards for gasoline are being eased throughout the country until Sept. 15, a step expected to ease shortages of the fuel.