Louisiana turns to thousands of RV trailers for victims of Hurricane Ida months later

Some Louisiana residents are being transported in mobile home trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), four months after Hurricane Ida ravaged the state and damaged thousands of homes.

The storm of August 29, 2021 displaced thousands, and as of Monday about 7,500 people from more than 2,600 homes are living in the 3,101 RV trailers that FEMA and the state have sent to the state’s southern parishes.

The trailers are part of a testing program in the state that has FEMA pay for temporary trailers, and the state is responsible for distributing the trailers to help families move out of temporary tent camps.

The program was suggested by FEMA because they said restrictions on state-run shelters were less than restrictions for homes provided by FEMA, Mike Steele, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Protection, told The Associated Press on Monday. Said accordingly.

He also said that the program started in some coastal areas of the state and is now reaching some more inland areas, with the first trailer being sent out in mid-October soon after the plan was approved by FEMA.

A view of flood-damaged buildings in the communities in Laffite, Grand Isle, Port Fourchon and Laforche parish, Louisiana, September 3, 2021. Four months after Hurricane Ida, some are being pulled out of tent camps and taken in RVs in Louisiana. Trailers provided by state and FEMA.
Jonathan Ernst / AFP via Getty Images

Haumea’s Shantel Campbell and her three school-aged children drove last week in one of dozens of RV trailers to a farm in Shriver, about 11 miles (18 kilometers) from the camp.

“I am grateful,” said Campbell. Courier. “People are still trying to get here.”

Terrebonne planning and zoning director Chris Pulaski said tent camps in Dulac and Montagut have closed, and occupants have moved from camps under a single giant tent to one in Chauvin, which consists of several smaller tents.

“It is better in case anyone tests positive covid,” Pulaski said.

The newspaper reported that the state testing program is starting to reduce the backlog.

Plus, Steele noted, RV trailers are easier to haul on property.

Hurricane Ida left many residents’ homes uninhabitable. In Port Fourchon, 47 miles (75 kph) southeast of Haumea, the storm roared off the coast on August 29, 2021, as a strong Category 4 hurricane with 150-mph (240-kph) winds. In.

Kentucky officials have spoken to their counterparts in Louisiana about emulating a program to house those whose homes were affected Deadly tornadoes of December, And Louisiana is considering the purchase of more trailers, Steele said.

“We are talking to FEMA about keeping it as a regular option,” he said.

Pulaski said FEMA had approved about 1,500 homes for housing, but only 70 mobile homes were occupied.

Terrebon Parish Councilman Carl Harding said transporting trailers frees up necessary space in tent camps.

Alexis Amakar lived for some time in a tent camp near her home in Hauma. He has now moved into an RV trailer.

“It took a while, but it’s a blessing,” Amakar said.

Parish officials have repeatedly criticized FEMA’s slow response to setting up mobile homes in the two parishes.

Harding said residents living in RV trailers told him last week that their needs included school bus stops and Wi-Fi access.

The campers are randomly selected from residents who have applied for temporary housing after the storm. In addition to tent camps, some lived in hotel rooms paid for by FEMA.

Two tent camps in Terrebon Parish are still full, according to Pulaski, who said he is also concerned that COVID-19 is delaying progress. He said he tested positive over the holidays. He’s feeling better, and is making staggering changes and letting employees work from home with as little disruption as possible.

“We cannot afford to close the permit office due to a COVID outbreak,” he said. “A lot is at stake.”

In Chauvin, Caroline Marcel and Kenneth Scott Jr. have had a FEMA mobile home on their property since December 12, but they couldn’t move in because inspections and licensing were not complete. Marcel and Scott said they have not been given a timeline. For now, they are staying in a small camper that they have parked in their son’s driveway.

Both have heart problems and joked that once they move into the FEMA trailer with all their equipment, it will look like a hospital unit. Both have been responsible for taking care of family members and say they need their own space once they are thin.

“We need rest,” Marcel said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.