As the ongoing response to the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, continues, many have raised questions about why the state has yet to receive help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke with officials at the White House early this morning to address the need for federal help,” DeWine’s office said in a statement last Thursday. “As a result of this conversation, the Governor has requested assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Health and Emergency Response Team, and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) to provide on-the-ground assistance in East Palestine.”
The statement also noted that FEMA expressed to DeWine that Ohio was “not eligible” for the assistance of the organization as of now.
The derailment caused quite the stir within the state when a train operated by Norfolk Southern went off track in East Palestine. Some of the cars attached to the train were hauling toxic chemicals, including ethylhexyl acrylate, vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, and ethylene glycol monobutyl.
Those living near the place where the train derailed were required to evacuate as Norfolk Southern brought in a “controlled release of vinyl chloride” in an attempt to “alleviate the risk of uncontrollable shrapnel from an explosion.”
After two days, the evacuated residents were informed that they could safely return to their homes.
“Air quality samples in the area of the wreckage and in nearby residential neighborhoods have consistently shown readings at points below safety screening levels for contaminants of concern,” DeWine’s office expressed back on February 8.
“Based on this information, state and local health officials determined that it is now safe for community members to return to their residences.”
“Why isn’t there federal money now for these people to move?” Jeanine Pirro questioned during a segment of Fox News’ “The Five.”
Pirro’s co-host, Dana Perino, replied: “There should be, but Governor DeWine has to ask FEMA to come in, and he hasn’t done it yet.”
A FEMA spokesperson has since been in contact with Fox News Digital, sending a statement that said the agency is currently in communication with Ohio officials as well as officials from the DHHR and the CDC to “test water and air quality” as well as to “conduct public health assessments.”
However, the spokesperson for FEMA did not provide further information about any federal assistance that will be offered to Ohio by the agency.