- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

County governments yesterday distributed hundreds of gallons of water and thousands of pounds of dry ice while providing temporary shelter for dozens of residents who were displaced by Tuesday’s storm and power outages.

Prince George’s County spokesman Jim Keary said officials quickly replenished supplies after residents went through the first 10,000 pounds of dry ice, used to keep refrigerators cool.

Mr. Keary said ice distribution had been restored by 1 p.m. at locations set up by two utility providers at Landover Mall and Free State Mall in Bowie. The county’s Office of Emergency Management also distributed free bottled water to the elderly.

“We will be monitoring the weather tonight and working with the utilities to make sure that things like dry ice are distributed to customers who are still without power,” said Mr. Keary yesterday.

In Anne Arundel County, Md., spokesman Matt Diehl said resources were sufficient even as officials dealt with 40 downed trees, seven closed roads and four malfunctioning traffic lights.

Mr. Diehl said dry-ice distribution sites at Arundel Mills Mall and the Westfield Shoppingtown Annapolis had no reports of shortages.

Montgomery County officials also set up two distribution areas for dry ice: Upcounty Regional Services Center, at 12900 Middlebrook Road in Germantown, and the Department of Recreation headquarters at 4010 Randolph Road in Silver Spring,.

County spokeswoman Donna D. Bigler said Montgomery County — one of the hardest hit areas — said officials had given out thousands of pounds of dry ice by yesterday afternoon.

“Once they run out, they will be out,” said Miss Bigler, who said those who still needed ice would have to thumb through the phone book to find more.

American Red Cross volunteers in Montgomery County served hot meals and provided a cool place to stay to about 30 residents of Randolph Village Apartments, using a makeshift shelter at the Fairfield Community Recreation Center. Other residents were picked up by family or needed ambulatory care.

One of those in the shelter — Ruth R. Nseyo, 56, a retired bus driver — said she did not understand how a simple thing such as power to a light switch could place those with serious physical conditions on cots.

“I am feeling bad,” said Mrs. Nseyo, who suffers from arthritis. “I have a nerve condition, I am retired, I am independent. I don’t understand what is happening.

“I have a family but I don’t feel like this is their responsibility, and the Red Cross can only do what they can do.”

Evelyn L. Hills agreed. “I have had a triple bypass and two knee replacements. I can’t do this,” the 59-year-old retiree nurse said. “I would rather be in my apartment than be here.”

Alex Sanchez, coordinator of disaster services for the Red Cross’ Montgomery County office, said his five volunteers are working six-hour shifts.

“And we are planning to go as long as Friday or Saturday,” he said. “We will just keep things going until the power comes back on and they are able to get back into the facility.”

All the municipalities said services would continue as long as needed and urged residents to ask for help if they need it.

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