The Clarion-Ledger, 7/22/8

A year overdue, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a draft disaster-housing strategy Monday, which leaves it largely up to the next administration to figure out a way to avoid Hurricane Katrina-like problems that sent victims to toxic trailers.

“What FEMA delivered today is a strategy without a plan,” said Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, one of FEMA’s strongest critics regarding disaster housing.

Hurricane Katrina devastated Landrieu’s state and Mississippi in 2005, displacing 1 million people and sending thousands to travel trailers which were later discovered to have high levels of formaldehyde – a preservative commonly used in building materials. Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can lead to breathing problems and is also believed to cause cancer. Residents of FEMA-issued trailers reported frequent headaches, nosebleeds and other ailments.

“This strategy should assure us that survivors will be able to find alternative housing expediently and that disaster housing is indeed temporary,” said Thompson, a Democrat and Mississippi’s 2nd District congressman.