Travel trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are beginning to flow into Florida’s Palm Beach County where Hurricane Wilma caused widespread damage.
But, according to the Sun-Sentinel, Ft. Lauderdale, there was a major glitch when 50 newly arrived trailers had to be yanked out of an RV park.
County officials have requested about 6,400 trailers from FEMA, but neither they nor FEMA officials could say how many trailers the county will receive or where they will be placed.
County and federal officials had planned to put 72 trailers at the county-owned South Bay RV Campground, and by Tuesday (Nov. 8) morning about 50 trailers were in place.
Then federal officials realized there were no individual sewer hookups and the contractor hauled the trailers out of the park, said Amanda Ellison, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is working on the trailer installations.
Ellison did not know where the trailers were sent, but a FEMA spokesman said they would stay in Palm Beach County.
“They were sent kind of all over, but FEMA has given us direction to ramp up and place 200 trailers a day into the 14 affected counties,” Ellison said. “That number is based on FEMA’s identification of need and their process.”
So far, the county estimates as many as 2,700 dwellings were destroyed in Wilma, the vast majority mobile homes. Another 4,400 dwellings may be too damaged to live in. FEMA numbers released Tuesday show 77,711 county residents have applied for assistance, with FEMA approving $6.3 million in housing assistance and $4.2 million in other aid.
County officials are considering setting up their own housing centers where people could fill out FEMA applications for housing assistance, to help speed the qualification process, said John Tatum, disaster recovery manager for the county’s Division of Emergency Management. The county also may ask city officials to do the same, he said.