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Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingThe federal government says it's prepared for hurricane Rita. The US Northern command is set up in Austin, Texas and ready to coordinate any rescue and supply efforts. Dr. Kim Mulvihill joins us with an important part of the equation: food.
What's on the menu? It's a new twist on brown bag lunch. As packed cars and buses cram highways to get out of Rita's path, truck after truck lumber back in, loaded with MRE’s, or meals ready to eat.
John Hancock, American Red Cross: "They're meant for the fighting person to give you enough protein to get thru the adrenaline rush when you're out in a war and to be able to survive.'"
And while this is not Iraq, there's a war underway with Mother Nature.
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas: “Wherever it makes landfall, it’s going to make extensive damage.”
Weeks after Katrina, MRE’s continue to fill the hunger gap.
Cheryl Carter, RN, New Orleans Nurse: “They do make you feel less hungry, and they are hot so it’s a nice hot meal, quick.”
And these "ready to eat meals" will play a role in case Rita turns out to be devastating. There are thirty different menus, like cheese tortellini warmed up with a disposable heater, crackers and peanut butter, spiced apples, pound cake, candy, coffee, gum, there's even a thing of tabasco sauce.
But there is a downside. Remember, MRE's are designed for combat troops and that means they're packed full of calories, fat and salt.
Cheryl Carter, RN: “So we were a little worried about giving them to our heart patients. But it’s this or nothing, and this is probably better than nothing.”
But for some evacuees, the taste was no touchdown.
Little Boy: “Nasty.”
Others were glad to get something in their stomachs.
Man: “I understand now how the army, how to eat and how to survive over there in Iraq. It tasted like a regular meal, like a regular meal.”
Each bag packs about 1300 calories and will last between five to seven years.