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FEMA reacts to lawsuit, trailer complaints

/ Source: NBC News

Statement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in response to a lawsuit filed against the agency in New Orleans on Nov. 10, 2005:

“As a regular order of business, FEMA does not comment on pending litigation.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s first priority is to get federal assistance into the hands of disaster victims as quickly as possible while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.  FEMA has dispersed $3.4 billion dollars directly to more than one million households in an effort to supply Katrina victims with much needed financial aid.  Every household will receive the full amount they are eligible for by law. 

“With hundreds of thousands of evacuees still scattered from coast to coast, FEMA is working closely with state, local and voluntary partners to address the needs of those working to get back on their feet.  FEMA established a 1-800 number, staffed by as many as 12,000 and operating 24 hours a day, to address concerns from victims.”

FEMA also provided NBC News with the following bullet points about trailers in regions affected by the hurricanes:

  • The U.S. Navy base in Belle Chase served as a forward staging area to get units into the lower parishes where they could be placed quicker once sites were identified.
  • Various parishes in the lower Southeast (especially Orleans, St Bernard's and Plaquemines) still have issues with bringing utilities back online, to include electricity/sewage/water, and we cannot place units on properties without utilities.
  • Various parishes in the lower Southeast have numerous ordinances/resolutions in place that limit or restrict how FEMA may place these units as well as what types of units can be placed on properties in the Southeast. Many allow private property placements, but do not want group sites.   
  • The final determination/approval of whether a property is used as mobile housing site rests with State/Local government officials, regardless of any land use approvals by landowners. Until those approvals are received, FEMA cannot lease the properties or place units on the properties.  
  • Many of the properties in the Southeast are either in floodplains or have other environmental issues that would prevent the immediate placement of units until these issues can be addressed.  
  • One of the parishes in the Southeast has decided to complete its debris removal/site cleanup first because of the difficulties in placing units on properties where the debris removal is still in process. Therefore, the parish has halted the placement of units until that process is completed.