Working with each state - MEMA for Mississippi - FEMA has charged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the job of delivering 3 million pounds of ice within 24 hours to any state hit, Hudak said, but only for medical emergencies and life-saving reasons.
"We want to make sure we're providing ice as a life-saving item and not a comfort item," she said. "We're not insensitive to comfort. That's why we're pushing people to get prepared and be able to help themselves."
Ice will be available for life saving and not as a comfort item. Some local authorities in Pascagoula have proposed making generators available to local ice houses after a hurricane. There are problems with this solution. Many of the ice houses in cities such as Biloxi were destroyed after Hurricane Katrina. Another problem I foresee: lack of gas or diesel fuel to run the generators.
Ice was a cool comfort after Hurricane Katrina. After hours of cleaning up debris in the yard, nothing was sweeter than ice-chilled water. It was and is a necessity for those who have infants. Many people already freeze water jugs, as another local authority suggested. This helps to keep refrigerated and frozen items cooler in the days after a hurricane. In the days after Hurricane Katrina, the temperatures were in the low 90's. My food in the freezer and refrigerator had to be thrown out three days after Hurricane Katrina. Ice would need to be replenished, at the minimum of every other day to keep food fresh.
To me, ice is more than a quality of life issue after a hurricane. Ice can also be a great help in slowing down the spoilage of food. One of the health hazards we faced after Hurricane Katrina was all the rotting foods people had to empty from freezers and refrigerators. This coupled with the delays in garbage pick-up can lead to major health issues, not to mention the attraction of rodents, insects, and other animals to all that waste.