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County officials in Sarasota, Fla., are complaining the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been slow to improve conditions in a rundown trailer park that has become home to more than 300 hurricane victims, according to the Associated Press.
FEMA is leasing about 350 trailers at the Stay-N-Play RV Park in Venice, just south of Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where volunteers and residents have complained the park lacks basic services such as phones, laundry, healthcare, child care and bus service. Residents also say the park is infested with mosquitoes and fire ants.
The park was vacant for two years before FEMA began using it for victims of Hurricane Charley and Frances.
Sarasota County officials have been told that the number of people housed in the trailers could swell from 350 to 500 over the next few weeks. They say they want to make sure that all of the residents will be able to do their laundry, get healthcare and have access to day care
Sarasota County planned to set up a health and social-service center at the park Wednesday (Sept. 15), officials said. They say their response would have been quicker, but it’s been hard to find FEMA officials with decision-making power.
“FEMA goes in, rents a trailer park that hasn’t been working for two years, dumps everything on the owner of the park, and has no sensitivity to the fact that this is going to create an array of problems,” Sarasota County Administrator James Ley said.
Ley and County Commissioner Jon Thaxton both said dealing with FEMA has been frustrating.
“Unfortunately, the people who suffer from this frustration are people who have already suffered enough,” Thaxton said.