FEMA prefab

S 08
FEMA prefab

When Hurricane Katrina broke the levees protecting New Orleans and flooded 217,000 homes Americans were confident that FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) would cope with the situation. The task of the government agency, with an annual budget of almost 5 billion dollars, was to organize the evacuation and provide temporary housing, and to this end it had a sufficient number of trailer homes (FEMA Travel Trailers) and prefabs (FEMA Mobile Homes).

As it turned out, this confidence was misplaced, due to poor organization and bureaucracy. Those victims of the disaster who did not have cars were stranded in the most dangerous areas while half-empty cars and buses were streaming out of the city. FEMA refused the help of charity organizations, citing health and safety regulations. A large number of the trailers and prefabs remained uninhabited, as according to the regulations they were unsuitable for use in flood zones, so the refugees were housed in hotels instead. 

The FEMA houses themselves are single-span buildings made of wood which may vary considerably in size, from 3.6-4.2 metres wide and 10-20 metres long, depending on the number of rooms. When not housing disaster victims they are stored together with thousands of others waiting to be towed to a level site with the necessary amenities.