[Image: That Trailer Park, Arkansas Times Daily Blog, 2006]
It' crazy to hear about the more than 20, 000 or so empty 80-foot trailers that are camped out in fields and parking lots through out the gulf region, or the 11, 000 alone sitting vacant on that airstrip in Hope, Arkansas, where FEMA is paying $25,000 a month storage fee. Apparently, FEMA claims the trailers are restricted from flood plains, because the only way to park them there is to raise them off the ground and anchor them. But, that would then technically make them "permanent housing", and, (as FEMA has been more than quick to point out), Louisiana officials have made this type of housing against the law. So, they'd rather thousands of people go on living in tents there instead.
Talk about absurdity. Talk about playing bureaucratic hot potato, juggling people's lives in certain limbo. It's ike MoJo points out, that may just be all a part of the plan. Starving victims into further migration.
[Image: Storm Victims Face Big Delay to Get Trailers, New York Times, 2006]
So, instead of doing anything with all of these unused trailers, FEMA has decided to eat the costs until they figure out another plan for them. This brilliant decision has been perfectly timed with the announcements that 12, 000 people have just recently hit the streets again after being evicted from government sponsored hotels.
And, the newest audits show FEMA has squandered away millions of aid dollars in over-charges, poor accounting, and all sort of abuses.
Meanwhile, on the flip side, residents who have since moved out of their need for the trailers can't seem to get FEMA to come pick them up. So, that they may, presumably, (and you'll have to forgive me here) be used for other victims who still need them.
Let's get this straight one more time. FEMA is the real disaster here. And their response couldn't be more disgraceful watching millions of Pakistani earthquake victims freezing to death under cardboard shelters on snowy mountain tops. Or, rotting away in post-tsunami emergency camps. De-housed in the West Bank. It doesn't get much more telling than that: here is the epitome of the wasteful American landscape, thousands of homeless people suffering right next to massive stock piles of locked up disposable emergency shelters. So disposable, in fact, that they don't even ever actually get used.