UPDATE: For more information, read this post about FEMA trailers from a driver who was inside the trailer park in Arkansas. We even have pictures from inside the park itself.
More than 10,000 trailers that could be housing hurricane evacuees sit empty on airport property in Hope, Ark. — and the area’s congressman was there today pushing FEMA for answers why they still aren’t being used.
He didn’t get all the answers he wanted about why the trailers are still in Hope or when they will start moving out.
U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, who said the trailers are a sign of poor government management, met with a FEMA representative for a tour of the site today.
FEMA spent $441 million on the 10,777 trailers and is preparing to spend another $6 million for gravel to keep them from sinking, said Ross.
“We’ve got people who are homeless waiting for five months for one of these homes,” he said.
FEMA says it has been stymied by federal regulations, such as one forbidding trailers to be positioned in flood plains ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? which rules out much of the area hit by Katrina ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? and by officials in Louisiana, where the need is greatest.
“It’s amazing that every state in the union embraced Katrina evacuees except the folks in Louisiana,” FEMA spokeswoman Nicol Andrews said.
After Katrina, FEMA ordered 135,000 trailers, most supplied by large national manufacturers and some acquired from local dealers, she said.
“We have a lot of trailers in the supply line. The challenge is where to place them,” she said. Only eight of Louisiana’s 64 parishes have welcomed them, she said. “You can’t plug a trailer into a tree.”
I guess my first question is why did FEMA buy them in the first place if they’re now going to blame federal regulations about trailers being in flood plains?