Special Report From Journalist Who Was On Location
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Our friend and Epoch Times repprter, Jeff Louderback, has been on the ground in East Palestine, OH following the catastrophic train derailment that has shaken the nation. He joins us LIVE to tell us what he has seen while on the ground speaking with residents and officals. Follow Jeff on Facebook here: Jeff Louderback – Reporter/Content Writer/Author
By Jeff Louderback
February 16, 2023
Residents of East Palestine, Ohio, impacted by the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern Railway freight train derailment that caused lingering fires and spilled toxic chemicals will not receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA)—at least for now—according to Gov. Mike DeWine.
Almost two weeks after a Norfolk Southern Railway train derailed in this village located just west of the Pennsylvania state line, the Ohio governor requested federal assistance for residents dealing with the aftermath.
Since the crash, many residents have said they are experiencing headaches, skin rashes, sore throat, vomiting, and other ailments.
FEMA declined to help because East Palestine is not eligible for disaster assistance, DeWine spokesperson Dan Tierney said on Feb. 16. FEMA said the derailment and subsequent chemical spill and controlled burn that sent toxic chemicals into the air do not qualify as a traditional disaster, like a tornado or hurricane, he added.
“The DeWine Administration has been in daily contact with FEMA to discuss the need for federal support, however, FEMA continues to tell Governor DeWine that Ohio is not eligible for assistance at this time,” a Feb. 16 statement from DeWine’s office explained. “Governor DeWine will continue working with FEMA to determine what assistance can be provided.”
FEMA is “in constant contact with the emergency operations center in East Palestine and with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency,” said FEMA spokesperson Jeremy Edwards.
“We are closely coordinating with EPA, HHS, and the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], who are helping to test water and air quality, and to conduct public health assessments,” Edwards added.
President Joe Biden spoke with DeWine on Feb. 16 and pledged support on clean-up and monitoring, according to the governor’s office.
“As a result of this conversation, the governor has requested assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health and Emergency Response Team, and the CDC to provide on-the-ground assistance in East Palestine,” a statement from DeWine’s office explained.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will assist with health care costs of East Palestine residents, Tierney noted. On-the-ground support will be offered by the CDC.
Earlier on Feb. 16, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) encouraged DeWine to declare the Feb. 3 crash a disaster, a decision that would allow the state to receive additional federal resources.
“Additional federal resources can and should play a critical role in helping our fellow Ohioans get back on their feet and ensure that their community is a safe place to live, work, and raise a family,” Brown said.
On Feb. 3, a 150-car Norfolk Southern Railway freight train was passing through East Palestine when 50 of the cars derailed, including 11 containing hazardous chemicals.
The crash has been attributed to a mechanical issue with a rail car axle.
Security camera footage emerged showing that the train may have been on fire for at least 20 miles before it finally derailed in East Palestine. Read More: Ohio Gov: No FEMA Assistance for East Palestine Residents in Wake of Toxic Train Derailment
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