Wednesday, October 12, 2005

More Than 5,000 Families Now Housed In FEMA Travel Trailers

JACKSON, Miss. -- More than 5,000 Mississippi families left homeless by Hurricane Katrina are now living safe and secure in travel trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Over 981 families moved into trailers in the last 72 hours, and more than 600 travel trailers are currently ready to be occupied.

“The homes of thousands of Mississippians were damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Katrina creating an unprecedented need for travel trailers,” said Robert Latham, Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). “The limited availability of travel trailers which are needed by Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi makes this an even more difficult situation.”

One of the more innovative steps taken by FEMA and MEMA is the creation of a sheltering park patterned after parks in previous disasters called “Emergency Group Sites” (EGS). EGS are quickly created travel trailer/mobile home parks accommodating from 10 to 200 manufactured housing units.

There are currently three completed EGS with many more sites under review or construction.“Travel trailers can also be placed on suitable private property,” said Bill Carwile, Department of Homeland Security FEMA’s coordinating officer for the disaster. “When travel trailers are requested for placement on private property, the appropriate utility permits must be obtained by the owner of the property and contact with the local utility company made to make sure utility hook up is available.”

Before a travel trailer or mobile home can be moved onto private property, an inspector will call to arrange a visit to review the site. After the site is approved and permits obtained, a unit will be delivered and a time arranged to hook up the utilities and ready the unit for occupancy.

Katrina victims needing a travel trailer must first register with FEMA online at www.fema.gov or call toll free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-657-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairments and make their housing need known. Those who need an ADA compliant travel trailer must inform FEMA at the beginning of the process or as soon as possible.

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

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