FEMA’s self-imposed ban on moving more Greensburg residents into its mobile home park lasted but five days, the suspension having been lifted early last Friday afternoon.

Settlement of displaced tornado survivors was halted late in the afternoon a week ago Monday, when the federal agency succumbed to persisting concerns over adverse reactions of Hurricane Katrina survivors to formaldehyde in agency owned travel trailers.


FEMA’s self-imposed ban on moving more Greensburg residents into its mobile home park lasted but five days, the suspension having been lifted early last Friday afternoon.
Settlement of displaced tornado survivors was halted late in the afternoon a week ago Monday, when the federal agency succumbed to persisting concerns over adverse reactions of Hurricane Katrina survivors to formaldehyde in agency owned travel trailers.
A total of 106 families, representing 263 individuals had been moved into the Greensburg mobile homes when the suspension was announced, according to FEMA deputy coordinating officer, Jim Donley.  He said 17 more families were settled into the community Friday afternoon as soon as he received an email from Washington declaring the suspension had been lifted.
The number of occupied mobile homes had grown to 153 by late Monday, representing 356 residents, with 55 more families still having expressed interest in getting a key to their own mobile home.
Donley said the suspension was ended largely because of the urgency of Greensburg tornado survivors and southeast Kansas flood victims needing housing.  Another factor was the mobile homes having been regulated by another federal agency, Housing and Urban Development, without any complaints registered against the larger, mobile home units.
“HUD had given the okay on the mobile homes in the past, so that gave FEMA confidence back in Washington to call off the suspension,” Donley said.  He also pointed out all the Katrina-related complaints regarding formaldehyde reactions had been lodged by those dwelling in the smaller, travel trailers.
“No complaints have been heard from Kansas, and none have been in regard to the mobile homes,” Donley said.  “So it was time to decide to start getting people moved into the mobile homes again here in Kansas.”
Donley also said the health concerns were triggered by a very small minority, with only 206 complaints registered out of a total of 120,000 travel trailer units used in connection with the Katrina disaster.  The number represents less than two-tenths of one percent.
Expecting to have the remaining families settled into the mobile home park by the end of this week, Donley said the remaining work consists of street conditioning.
“The streets in the mobile home community got pretty torn up during construction last month with all the rain,” he said.  “We’re going to be leveling them out the next week or so, and topping them with a layer of asphalt so they have paved streets this winter.  Otherwise, they’d have a real mess on their hands when wet weather comes.”