FEMA water, truckers sit for a week in Iowa

| 6/26/2008

Ten truckers who were hauling FEMA bottled water for Midwest flood victims finally unloaded the 47,000 gallons of cargo on Wednesday, June 25, after sitting for eight days in Rock Island, IL, awaiting instructions on where to take it.

The Quad City Times reported that FEMA had prepositioned the water before president Bush declared much of the Midwest a disaster area and couldn’t distribute the water until the disaster declaration was made.

Some of the trucker’s companies were upset by the delay, but the truckers weren’t complaining.

OOIDA member Ken Ricci spoke to Land Line Now and said he and the other truckers were well treated. He felt that, with flooding all around, it made sense to position them at the Rock Island Arsenal.

“You don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way,” Ricci pointed out. “We get down there with a truckload of water, and the floods keep on coming. That doesn’t make any sense.”

Ricci said that originally the 10 trucks were routed to Des Moines.

“By putting us up there at the border there at Rock Island Arsenal, we could go to either Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, or we could go to St. Louis or points in between,” Ricci said. “There were so many roads that were closed, and we had access to both freeways right there. It made perfectly good sense.”

Ricci did raise one question about FEMA’s bottled water operation, though.

He questioned why he and other truckers weren’t assigned to deliver it to its final destination in various states.

A FEMA spokesman says Department of Homeland Security disaster rules prevent that.

– By Staff Writer Reed Black