FEMA moves last Katrina victims out of trailer

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 15, 2012 7:28 PM
FEMA moves last Katrina victims out of trailer

By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - More than six years after the worst hurricane in U.S. history devastated New Orleans, the last family living in federally provided temporary housing in the city has moved into a permanent home.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Wednesday the agency removed the last remaining trailer on Sunday, several days after the residents relocated to their rebuilt home on the same property.

"Another page has turned in New Orleans' post-Katrina history," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.

FEMA had placed tens of thousands of temporary trailers on private properties, mobile home parks and industrial sites in and around the metropolitan area during the months following the August 2005 hurricane, which broke local floodwalls, killed some 1,500 people and left 80 percent of the city under water.

The agency housed some 92,000 families throughout south Louisiana, making the effort the largest housing operation in the country's history, according to a statement by FEMA's Louisiana Recovery Office program director Andre Cadogan.

FEMA provided $5.8 billion in assistance for nearly 1 million people after Katrina and Hurricane Rita, which followed a few weeks later, Cadogan said.

FEMA was pummeled with criticism after Katrina for mishandling the response to the massive disaster. Thousands of people who had taken refuge from the flood in the Louisiana Superdome went for days without food and potable water and without adequate transportation to move them to safe quarters.

Days after then-President George W. Bush stood in the city's flood-darkened French Quarter and promised that "we will do what it takes" to help New Orleans recover and bring evacuees home, FEMA Director Michael Brown resigned under pressure on September 12, 2005.

Even after the initial emergency, FEMA's fumbling continued, with thousands of people who lacked the means to repair their flooded homes waiting years to get housing assistance.

(Reporting By Kathy Finn; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Daniel Trotta)