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The government’s head of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts made a surprise visit to a newly built trailer park in Baker, La., on Saturday (Oct. 8), and said hundreds of similar makeshift towns are planned to house residents displaced by the storm.
According to an Associated Press report, U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen called the construction of the park, which holds more than 570 trailers, “pretty remarkable.”
“This went from nothing to something in about five weeks,” said Allen, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) official in charge of hurricane relief.
The small trailers have air conditioning, plumbing and TV antennas, and the park is laid out like a small town, with gravel roads, streetlights and power lines.
Allen said about 120,000 trailers and mobile homes are expected to be delivered to Louisiana in the coming weeks. The optimum size of each park will be about 200 units, but the trailers also may be placed on the property of residents with destroyed homes, he said.
President Bush has said all Gulf Coast evacuees should be out of shelters by mid-October. The American Red Cross said Saturday that 23,970 residents displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita had stayed in shelters the night before.
Timothy Ray Leonard, Jefferson Parish, said he was happy to move into a trailer. “I’m glad to be out of that shelter.”
John Jackson, New Orleans, had been living at a nearby church. He said he wasn’t sure how long he would stay in the park. “Might be a month, might be a week.”