Federal officials want to have all Hurricane Katrina victims who are eligible for temporary housing in Mississippi moved into the trailers next month, according to the Hattiesburg American.
The original estimate was 35,000 trailers for the state, said Nick Russo, deputy coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Mississippi. “Our target placement ratio is 400 per day.”
Since Katrina slammed into the state in late August, 1,586 travel trailers have been placed in nine counties surrounding Hattiesburg, according to figures supplied by FEMA. The tally does not include the three coastal counties.
“These trailers are in lieu of hotel rooms or long-term stay apartments,” said FEMA spokesman Ken Higginbotham.
Most of the trailers passed through a FEMA staging area in Purvis, where the vehicles are inspected and prepared for distribution to individuals or families.
More than two months after the hurricane, the agency has started bringing larger mobile homes to a new staging area on 125 acres in the Carnes community of southern Forrest County.
“These mobile homes will be staged there until the ones in Purvis are depleted,” Higginbotham said. Up to 1,600 mobile homes can be stored at the site, he said. FEMA was unable to get the larger mobile homes in the first weeks after the hurricane, he said.
Higginbotham was unsure if families now living in small travel trailers can request a transfer to a larger mobile home.