Posts Tagged ‘Mental health’
So, if British Petroleum is so concerned about making things right, if the economy is on the mend, the environment a-ok…in short, if everything in the Gulf is so good British Petroleum could really leave any time, but won’t, because they are just that committed and that benevolent of a company, then why all the trouble at these schools?
Trouble such as:
Kids coming to class in dirty school uniforms and trying to take showers without others noticing because their parents lost their jobs and are living in homes with no electricity or running water.
Kids not getting the medication they need for ADD and other ailments, leading to kids acting out in class and fights.
Kids missing classes to stay home and take care of their siblings while parents are out looking for work or trying to keep their jobs.
Kids suffering from increased trauma as a result of increased substance abuse and domestic violence in the home.
Oh, and there’s more:
According to a study by the University of South Alabama last spring, 35 percent of the students at Bryant High School in Irvington reported being significantly and personally traumatized by the oil spill. A third of them said they were very concerned because the spill had caused their parents to lose jobs. The number of students getting in trouble at Alba Middle School in Bayou La Batre had doubled in a year, according to the study, and was up by 20 percent at Bryant.
“There are tons of stories,” said Paige Rucker, state director of Project Rebound, which, in tandem with AltaPointe Health Systems, has 21 counselors on a recovery team concentrating on south Mobile County. “You take a community that was already suffering, with Hurricane Katrina and the economy, and you layer the oil spill on top of it.” With that “trifecta,” she said, the community is more than hurting. “It’s on life support.”
Claims money is running out. The jobs haven’t come back. Utility bills are going unpaid. The foot pantry shelves are emptying out and the use of mental health services is on the rise.
This is almost two years after the spill.
Making things right…for who? British Petroleum and their connected politicians…
As Iris Cross says in one of BP’s latest commercials:
“And the economy is showing progress, with many areas on the Gulf Coast having their best tourism season in years. I was born here, I’m still here and so is BP. We’re committed to the Gulf, for everyone who loves it and everyone who calls it home…”
Yeah, well, that’s just wonderful Iris, BP, but how about the kids at schools in south Mobile County? How about you take a little time from your ad campaigns and commit yourselves to these kids and their families?
You know, because you care enough to not have the effects of your spill span across multiple generations.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
The Attorney General of Alabama, Luther Strange wrote a letter to Ken Feinberg about his concerns with the GCCF and the payment of claims, highlighting many of the problems with the process that have been highlighted here and on several other websites.
Among his concerns:
1. Of all the claims reportedly paid, 98.9 % are the quick pay claims, claims that require no processing and of course require all recipients to waive their and their families rights to sue British Petroleum and a hundred other companies.
2. The average final payment accepted by claimants in Alabama is $12,000 dollars. With all the uncertainty in the Gulf’s recovery, the idea that $12,000 dollars will cover any and all damages is laughable at best.
3. Though Feinberg continually speaks of fraud and lack of documentation, in Alabama only 14.6% of claims required further documentation. The rest were turned down for other reasons, reasons that are not often revealed.
4. Why is it the GCCF now omits from its news releases the number of EAP claims which were turned down? This omission is only one of many example showing transparency continues to be an issue.
5. Although the GCCF seems to enjoy trumpeting the amount of money paid, $3.5 billion dollars, why is they refuse to release the total damage amounts people have claimed, surely billions more than has been paid. The GCCF will not give the complete picture, negating any attempt for people to properly evaluate the success or failure of the GCCF and its process.
Strange goes on to discuss how the GCCF’s botching of the claims process is having a detrimental effect on the mental health of Alabama’s citizens…their mental welfare being strained by frustration and uncertainty with the claims process, the demoralization of being reduced to begging Feinberg for money, the frustration that comes with claims being continually rejected and the realization that this ugly reality created by Feinberg and the GCCF will not be solved in the foreseeable future.
All, while so many lives are slipping into financial ruin, caused by no fault of their own.
Meanwhile, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood recently announced he will be touring the Coast later this month to hear comments from claimants in the BP oil catastraphuk. The gatherings will be held in conjunction with the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Mississippi Center for Legal Services, and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer’s Project.
“It is important to me to hear directly from the claimants what they have been experiencing in this process,” Hood said when announcing the meetings. The Attorney General has filed briefs in the oil spill litigation, asking for court-appointed monitors to move the $20 billion BP claims process along with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which is handling victim claims.
It is a positive that these two men are speaking out, and listening. This situation in the Gulf continues to be untenable.
It’s been almost a year since the Deepwater Horizon exploded, and seven months since Feinberg took over the claims process from British Petroleum and it is unconscionable that people continue to wait for payments…not hand-outs, but compensation from the company who spilled this oil across their lives. Feinberg does his interviews and issues his press releases, yet gives only part of the story, the side of the numbers that sound okay, while burying the rest behind a wall of secrecy. This, while he continues to promise transparency yet time after time delivers little to nothing.
Meanwhile, at the White House, Barack Obama still says nothing…proving that he is just one more president who came down to the Gulf Coast and after giving his speech, took his generators home, leaving the coast in the darkness created by unknowns.
At least Strange and Hood are willing to speak up, make some noise about the travesty that is the GCCF and the ego run wild that is Ken Feinberg…
In the words of Strange, from his letter:
“Rest assured, I will do everything I can to help our victims survive this catastrophe, including holding the GCCF’s feet to the fire. Quit dragging your feet and stalling the large majority of claims to a point where victims are so desperate that they settle for anything. remember, your job is to compensate the victims – not magnify their problems by playing games with BP’s money (to BP’s benefit).”
Have a nice day.
P.S. I might only add, where the hell is James D. “Buddy” Caldwell?
When Kenneth Feinberg took over disbursement of the $20 billion dollar fund from BP one month ago, he made the rather startling claim that emergency payments would be underway to people within 24 hours and businesses within a week. One month later, over 40,000 claims remain to be processed. He has been forced to do town hall meetings, to add personnel, then to streamline the claims process by placing businesses into categories in the hopes that business damages can be compared, all for the purpose of speeding up the process.
Perhaps in an attempt to once again try to show good faith, he went against BP’s wishes a week ago and waived the requirement that wages paid to fisherman for helping with the cleanup be deducted from their emergency payments.
That’s nice and all, but as we continue to watch people suffer, losing their homes, their businesses, their families and their means of employment, all as a result of British Petroleum’s oil spill and through no fault of their own, more must be done. Health risks continue to rise in the Gulf Coast, both mental health and medical and these costs will not only increase in time, but in many cases those incurring these costs no longer have health insurance either from loss of income, or loss of employment or businesses that helped provide coverage. Again, the people of the Gulf Coast didn’t ask for British Petroleum to fuck up their lives. They didn’t ask for BP to dump 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf to coat their futures in crude.
It is time for Feinberg to really make things right in the Gulf. It is time now for him to finally waive the “no-sue” clause; the residents of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida deserve, and should be entitled to this much. Let them receive their emergency payments, a final payment from the fund, and should the problems in the Gulf persist with the ecosystem, their home environments or their own mental and physical health, make British Petroleum liable.
Make it possible for Gulf Coast residents to sue British Petroleum even if accepting “final” payments from the fund.
Don’t let British Petroleum walk away from their responsibility.
They broke it. They bought it.
Like BP, Feinberg needs to make amends for his false promises. He stated his disbursements would be more generous than any court and this has not been the case. This rationale for preventing people from suing the oil company is as hollow as his 24 hour “guarantee.”
Waive the no-sue clause because the people of the Gulf Coast don’t know their future, stop trying to make them guess.
Have a nice day.