"Pimp my FEMA trailer." Image credit:SwampPlot.com
FEMA has put the notorious Katrina Trailers, some 100,000 of them, up for auction; and the bidding has apparently driven down prices for the new models. Hence, lobbyists for the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association have suggested sending empty Katrina trailers to Haiti as a 'humanitarian gesture.' The Haitian government, as stressed and desperate as it is, isn't falling for it. Per a CBS station, "Haitian Culture and Communications Minister Marie Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue said Thursday she had not heard of the proposal but added: "I don't think we would use them. I don't think we would accept them."" One of my favorite quotes follows:
In Haiti, Ermite Bellande said she has had no shelter since losing her three-story house. Still, she doesn't want one of the trailers. "We have nothing," she lamented. "But I would rather sleep outside than be in a metal box full of chemicals."Actually, the following quote might surpass the preceding one in sheer hyperbole.
Among the lawmakers backing the idea is Mississippi state Sen. Billy Hewes.Given the urgent needs for shelter in Haiti, I don't know if there's time enough to screen abandoned FEMA trailers for interior air formaldehyde content and to add solar power, which would be needed because Haiti has so little infrastructure left. (Unless Mississippi also has some generators, parts, and a decade worth of fuel to give away???)
"If I had the choice between no shelter and having the opportunity of living in a shelter that might have some fumes, I know what I'd choose," he said. "If these trailers were good enough for Mississippians, I would think they were good enough for folks down in Haiti as well."
Regardless of whether folks down in Mississippi think FEMA trailers were 'good enough' while they lived in them (which I'm very doubtful of), from a PR standpoint this idea doesn't even come close to passing the 'red-faced test.' The FEMA trailer albatross is not going out of sight and out of mind until the trailer manufacturing industry does something fundamental with design and materials of construction to improve health and safety. Swamplot has a good starting point.