Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today sent a letter to FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison asking him to prepare for the next natural disaster to strike California by storing mobile housing units in the state.
Senator Feinstein’s letter notes that FEMA currently has 2,365 mobile housing units stored in several locations. But none are located in Western states, and the storage facility closest to California is 1,500 miles from the state.
Following is the text of the letter sent by Senator Feinstein:
November 7, 2007
The Honorable R. David Paulison
Administrator of Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street S.W.
Washington D.C., 20472
Dear Administrator Paulison:
As the recent wildfires illustrate, California is at significant risk of major natural disaster. We face threats from fire, from flood, from earthquake and even from tsunami, yet there are currently no FEMA mobile home units located within 1,500 miles of California.
So I am writing to ask you to stage mobile housing units in California or along the West Coast.
The California wildfire crisis displaced over 700,000 California residents in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties this past week, the largest displacement of residents in California history. As the fire victims begin the recovery process in the ensuing months, temporary housing will be an important component to the relief effort.
As of November 5th, 2007 your staff indicated that FEMA had 2,365 operational mobile home units ready for deployment in the following staging sites: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Cumberland, Maryland; Frostburg, Maryland; Edison, New Jersey; Hope, Arkansas; Texarkana, Texas and; Selma, Alabama.
I am concerned that FEMA does not have a single staging site within 1,500 miles of California. Providing temporary disaster relief housing is a core component to FEMA’s emergency response mission, yet without a staging area on the West Coast, I question whether our residents have equal access to FEMA’s resources.
While there is a clear and demonstrated need to concentrate FEMA housing units in hurricane and tornado prone areas in the eastern and southeastern United States, the fact that FEMA’s entire stock of homes is located so far from the west coast appears to be problematic.
As San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Los Angeles Counties begin to recover from the devastating fires, a clearer picture will emerge as to the specific need for temporary housing. If they should request demonstrate adequate need for FEMA’s assistance, I hope that their request would be handled as expeditiously as in any other part of the country.
I appreciate the opportunity to work with you to find a solution to this potential housing crisis. Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and I look forward to your response.
United States Senator