Travel trailers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be moving in and out of Baton Rouge in coming weeks as 12 Louisiana dealers fill nearly $65 million in orders for 4,000 additional trailers.
According to The Advocate, FEMA placed the order Feb. 16 to add to its Louisiana inventory of trailers, all of which will be delivered to the Baton Rouge staging area.
“We needed to bulk up what we had at our staging site,” said Rachel Rodi, a FEMA spokeswoman. “We receive about 500 trailers a day at the Baton Rouge staging site. With this order, we’ll be able to push more out each day to help evacuees.”
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, FEMA ordered 125,000 travel trailers from national RV manufacturers, Rodi said. These trailers were to be delivered to displaced residents along the Gulf Coast who lost their homes during the storm.
FEMA determined that there were about 98,000 Louisiana families who needed a travel trailer, with the other 27,000 trailers going to families in the other affected states, including Alabama and Mississippi.
So far, 84,884 trailers are occupied in the Gulf region with 47,244 of those occupied by Louisiana families, Rodi said. Another 5,692 trailers are ready for occupancy in Louisiana.
At the last count earlier this week, Rodi said FEMA had 19,000 travel trailers sitting in staging areas in Baton Rouge, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi.
The national RV companies have delivered all but about 11,000 travel trailers and their daily deliveries have slowed, Rodi said.
“That’s why we placed the order with the local dealers. It looks like we need more trailers than we originally thought and we need them now,” she said. “Besides, it’s good for the local economy.”
The trailers at the Baton Rouge staging area, Rodi said, are picked up by FEMA contractors and taken to private, group, or commercial sites.
Rodi said she does not know how much FEMA spent on the 125,000 trailers purchased from the national companies.
However, according to a list of FEMA contracts, one of the largest contracts the agency entered into after the storm was with Gulf Stream Coach Inc., for $270.9 million. The number of trailers purchased was not provided.
Rodi said placing the order with local dealers is more costly, though.
“I do know that we paid on the average about $10,000 to $13,000 per trailer to our national manufacturing companies,” she said. “But we are paying $19,000 to $20,000 each when we buy them off of a lot as we are doing with the local dealers.”