Appalled by lack of shelter preparedness for hurricane

I was appalled at the lack of shelter capacity and preparedness during Hurricane Lane. Listening to news reports, it seemed like locations hadn’t been identified in advance that were suitable for a shelter and the government was in the process of identifying locations as Lane approached. But once shelters did open, the public was told not to use them unless absolutely necessary because there isn’t enough shelter space for everyone. And by the way, if you do go to a shelter, be sure to bring your own food and water because none will be provided. What a crock!

The purpose of an emergency shelter is to safely house people during an emergency event such as a hurricane, which includes providing food, water, cots, blankets, bathrooms and other minimum essentials. Why aren’t the state and county governments better prepared? Why isn’t there a supply of shelf-stable food such as meals, ready to eat (MREs) used by the military, water and essential supplies readily available in advance on each island for the shelters?

The Red Cross staffed the shelters so why couldn’t they supply food and water? How are the homeless supposed to bring their own food and water to a shelter? What if another Iniki hits and tens of thousands need shelter?

We need our state and county government to put some real thought and planning into emergency preparations for natural disasters beyond just staffing an emergency response coordination center and asking FEMA to step in after the event is over.

Kevin Bridges

Kahului

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