Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told a Senate committee Thursday (Feb. 2) that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) deployment of travel trailers to victims of Hurricane Katrina is no answer for the long-term needs along the Gulf Coast.
The Biloxi Herald reported that Barbour made the claim while joining Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco in testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Washington.
“The first recommendation I make to you, FEMA, and others seeking to learn the lessons from this catastrophe is the temporary housing solution of installing travel trailers is insufficient for disasters of this magnitude,” Barbour said.
He said FEMA and its contractor Bechtel have installed more than 34,000 travel trailers and mobile homes that serve as temporary housing for about 100,000 Mississippians.
“The current near-sole reliance on travel trailers is inadequate for meeting a huge need such as Katrina created,” he said.”The travel trailer is not designed or built to be lived in for long. We have a hurricane season that will officially begin June 1, and there will still be 25,000 or 30,000 travel trailers in the coastal area of the state. It won’t take a Katrina to blow or wash travel trailers away.”
The Mississippi governor said modular or other types of transitional housing exists that could be built faster than a contractor can move in 35,000 travel trailers.
“The structures are not only stronger and safer, they also live better. Temporary group living quarters such as are used in the Olympics or by the military would be an appropriate alternative for some and can be erected in a fraction of the time,” Barbour said.