FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is in Baton Rouge this week helping south Louisiana move toward recovery from the record flooding.
“We’ve got a lot of people in shelters," he explains, "got a lot of people who may not be able to get back in their homes. So, what will be the next step for temporary housing?”
Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FEMA supplied displaced residents with travel trailers to live in. But some were found to contain toxic levels of formaldehyde. While it's still too early to tell what temporary housing may look like for this flood, Fugate says it won't be more of the same.
“If we need to bring in any type of temporary housing units, first thing is they’re better than they’ve ever been. They’re all [Housing and Urban Development] approved. So if that is a requirement, this is not the FEMA travel trailers," he assures.
The best solution is cleaning, repairing and getting people back in their homes as quickly as possible, which will require more hands.
“I am asking for organized groups both in Louisiana and outside Louisiana to organize and come in at the appropriate time, not just yet, but at the appropriate time, and to volunteer to help these people to get back in their homes," says Governor John Bel Edwards.
Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser is helping assemble the teams through volunteerlouisiana.gov.
“These teams will also be available after we clean out the homes to help many of the people without flood insurance rebuild.”
With over forty thousand homes impacted by the flooding, recovery for the region is sure to be an extended process, says Fugate.
“FEMA understands this is a very large disaster affecting tens of thousands of people. Regardless of what it may be getting on the national coverage, we know this has been a significant impact here in Louisiana. And our commitment - the President’s commitment - is to support the Governor to a full recovery, and it’s going to be a hard one," he explains.