MS congressman: Surplus FEMA trailers could help Haitians

WASHINGTON, DC (WLOX/AP) - The Mississippi congressmen who asked the government to halt its sale of FEMA trailers leftover from Hurricane Katrina is now endorsing a plan to send the units to Haiti. But Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi warns that the trailers should not be used for housing.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is considering sending some of the surplus housing units to the earthquake ravaged nation, where thousands of homes have crumbled beyond repair.

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Thompson wrote, "While I continue to believe these units should not be used for human habitation, I do believe they could be of some benefit on a short-term, limited basis, if the appropriate safeguards are provided."

Thompson suggested that they be used for short term shelter or emergency treatment clinics for non-life threatening injuries.

"However, given the potential for adverse health affects when used as more than short-term shelter, I would be gravely concerned about distributing these units to the people of Haiti for use as housing. This country's immediate response to help in this humanitarian crisis should not be blemished by later concerns over adverse health consequences precipitated by our efforts."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that up to 50 percent of the buildings in Haiti's capital and other areas hardest hit by the earthquake have been damaged or destroyed.

Click here to read Rep. Thompson's full letter.

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