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Statement of IBWA President Joseph K. Doss:
"The bottled water industry has been hard at work since the first Hurricane Katrina alerts were issued to provide assistance to those in need. Many IBWA members have depleted existing inventories and are now bottling water around the clock to help meet the demand for clean, safe drinking water. They have trucks either on-site or heading to the region with millions and millions of bottled water servings in 16-ounce, 2.5 gallon and five gallon sizes.
"The bottled water industry is proud to assist in providing needed drinking water relief to affected areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. We are in a unique position of manufacturing a product necessary for human survival; and we are doing everything in our power to get donated bottled water to where it is needed most.
"At this point, we and other industries who supply relief and recovery supplies are finding that federal and state agencies cannot give specific information as to where bottled water and items should be delivered, who to contact, etc. IBWA has raised this issue directly with an official at the Department of Homeland Security, who acknowledged that there are logistical problems and assured us that steps would be taken to correct this situation. Bottled water industry transports are faced with the same challenges of damaged infrastructure and limited access to affected areas as others involved in relief efforts.
"Bottled water companies have been, and continue to be, aggressive in our efforts to get bottled water to communities in need. In case after case, bottled water deliveries are being coordinated by IBWA members and staff directly with local officials and citizens in affected areas, circumventing challenges encountered by the bottled water industry when working through formal channels.
"Members of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) are reporting that more than four million (4,000,000) containers of bottled water are either en route or arrived at the devastated region. With supply efforts certain to continue into the foreseeable future, the bottled water industry without question-without hesitation-is proud to do our part to relieve the suffering of our fellow Americans."