Leading seniors organization AMAC: “This was an avoidable tragedy that must lead to reassessment of disaster priorities”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At least six elderly people died Wednesday at a South Florida nursing home that had no air conditioning due to power outages after Hurricane Irma. A second, dramatic last-minute evacuation took place at a nursing home in North Miami Beach due to dangerous temperatures and a lack of electricity. Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that he is launching two state investigations into the deaths.
Dan Weber, founder and CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), sent the following letter to FEMA Administrator William Long calling on the federal agency to offer any and all assistance in the investigations and, if necessary, conduct an investigation of its own:
Dear Administrator Long,
Following the wrongful deaths of six senior citizens in a Hollywood Hills nursing home, and the dramatic, last-minute evacuation of a second nursing home in North Miami Beach due to dangerous temperatures and a lack electricity, we strongly urge that an official federal inquiry be launched to investigate why senior citizens are dying and at risk in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
We understand Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced two state investigations through the Florida Department of Children and Families, and the Agency for Health Care Administration. We urge FEMA to assist in state’s investigations in every way possible.
Our organization, which represents millions of seniors, has no doubt that our first responders are working very hard to ease the burdens this catastrophe has placed on Florida’s citizens. At the same time, we must make sure that the safety of our most vulnerable citizens remain a top priority. We know you share these concerns, and we urge you to act to make sure they are promptly and fully addressed.
It is unconscionable that in the 21st century and in Florida — a state where one in five people are 65 and older — America’s seniors are still apparently not given priority after natural disasters, especially in the wake of one as significant and highly-anticipated as Hurricane Irma. Six seniors are now dead from having been in a place that was allegedly designed specifically for their care and protection. This appears to have been an entirely avoidable tragedy.
Senior citizens, who are among the most susceptible to the myriad dangers presented by the elements, must be a top priority for our first responders and care providers. But more broadly, this a moment that must be used to consider and appreciate the sacrifices and contributions senior citizens have made to ensure that America is the incredible country we all enjoy today.
We therefore urge an full and thorough investigation into this situation by the appropriate federal agencies.
For more information on AMAC: Dan Weber is the CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), the largest conservative due-paying member association in the United States with a membership of over one million seniors. Weber founded the organization in 2007 as an alternative to AARP.
To schedule an interview with Dan Weber, please contact Tyler Bryant at [email protected] or (703) 490-8845.