July 15, 2007 in Nation/World

Meltdown: Katrina ice meets heat

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

GLOUCESTER, Mass. – After nearly two years, thousands of truck miles and $12.5 million in storage costs, a cold relic of the flawed Hurricane Katrina relief effort is going down the drain.

The federal government is getting rid of thousands of pounds of ice it had sent south to help Katrina victims, then north when it determined much of the ice wasn’t needed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had been hanging on to the ice in case it was needed for another disaster, but decided to get rid of it because it couldn’t determine whether it was still safe for human consumption.

“We just didn’t take any chances,” FEMA spokeswoman Alexandra Kirin told the Gloucester Daily Times.

The ice, held at AmeriCold Logistics in Gloucester and at 22 similar facilities nationwide, is being melted. The cost of storing the ice at all the facilities since Katrina is $12.5 million.

The Army Corps of Engineers acknowledged after the August 2005 hurricane that it had ordered too much ice because of faulty estimates by local officials.

Truckers received up to $900 a day to move the ice to storage sites around the country.

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