As BP continues to abandon Gulf communities and the U.S. government tries to defend its disastrous “vast majority of oil is gone” moments, cash-strapped local agencies continue to find ways to meet the increasing demands of our post-spill reality. A great example is a new mobile health clinic that is bringing a pediatrician to lower Plaquemines Parish, where the spill has hit hard among people who didn’t have a lot of cushion to begin with.
USA Today is reporting on the effort, saying: “‘The Children’s Health Fund is also providing a caseworker and a mental health counselor to work with children five days a week,’ said Dr. Irwin Redlener, head of CHF and of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness. For now, he said, ‘the mobile clinic will drive down once a week, rotating among two locations in Port Sulphur and one each in Braithwaite and Boothville.'”
It sounds like a great program; the only offensive part is that BP isn’t the one paying for it. Dr. Redlener: “As we raise more money for the program in Plaquemines, we’re going to expand [availability] to five days a week. But we wanted to get it started.” Right. Raising money in Plaguemines, a parish of about 20,000 people, where the spill utterly destroyed the economy.
You have to admire the focus on children’s well-being, but you can’t help but be outraged about Plaquemines residents digging deep to pay for BP’s damages. In a better world, you could count of the federal government to make BP pay, but I doubt that’s going to happen here.
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