Friday, February 24, 2006
The misery of a camping trip that never ends
I guess anything is better than living on wet ground and using a garden hose to bathe, but life in this temporary tent city in Pass Christian, Mississippi, is far from ideal.

The Village, as it's called, was set up by the city and paid for by FEMA. At one point, it housed more than 300 people. Now it's down to about 83. I visited the Village to shoot a story this week and saw firsthand how these people are living.

Outdoor sinks to wash their faces. Shared shower rooms. Their kids go to daycare in a tent. They eat in the meal tent. Nobody has their own bathroom. It's like a camping trip that never ends.

Most of the people who live here have lost everything. FEMA says it's trying to get trailers for all of the Village residents, but it's been six months since the storm.

Tonight on the show, you'll meet a mother, 76, and her daughter, 50, who've been living in a tent since November, when the Village opened. They are living in limbo, waiting for a trailer that hasn't arrived.

The mother has chronic asthma and the daughter has liver disease and panic attacks -- conditions that have worsened since the storm. They say that for health reasons they need to live near other, even though they didn't before the storm. FEMA says that may be part of the hold up.

What can be done? What should be done? You tell me.
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 12:25 PM ET
I think selected Senator, Representative and Administration officials, like Chertoff, should go live in tents for a while...

That also goes for local officials, like the Mayor, too.

Let's see how *they* like it.
Posted By Anonymous Abigail M, Gainesville, Florida : 12:41 PM ET
These people have gone through the biggest traumatic experience of their lives. They probably only have each other left, need to take care of each other and FEMA doesn't want them to live near each other? I'd like to know the details of the questionnaire when determining who gets a trailer and when. They must make it up as they go.
Posted By Anonymous Nicki Ferguson, Calgary, Alberta CANADA : 12:42 PM ET
While it is unforntunate that there are still people in situations like these, it is important to note that they are still better off than 90% of the people on this planet. At least they have shelter, food, and potable water.
Posted By Anonymous Matt Rork, Los Angeles, CA : 12:45 PM ET
As said as their story is, we can't expect the government to provide all our needs. I don't mean to sound cold, but stuff happens and people suffer. I'm frankly supprised that the government helps out as much as they do in times of a disaster, contrary to popular belief they don't have bottomless pockets. Again I'm sorry to hear of the suffering, but don't expect too much.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Jacksonville, FL : 12:48 PM ET
Randi, isn't it an endless sad story? I am wondering if there are a non-governmental organizations dedicated to help Katrina and Rita victims. I mean, forget about the Red Cross, they are burned out already. I really think that those victims need mediators in order to get whatever they deserve from FEMA or from other agencies. Surely at this point they can only wait and wait and wait .... until when? They need help from smart brains, agile people with big heart who will be able to push forward the long and winding process they are facing now.
Posted By Anonymous V.A. Churchill, Houston, TX : 12:50 PM ET
Wake up America. The world is on the edge of its' seat and we are already on the floor. There is no love, no compassion, and no concern for the have nots. Were are more interested in spending billions on war and other devious activities at home and abroad. We are going to lose this battle and the sad thing is rich folk think nothing can happen to them. The rest of the world see us as a bunch of spoiled, rude, crybabies and nothing would please them more than to see America become as Rome has-or worst. My heart goes out to the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Your only ally is God and the few decent people of the country who have no voice.
Posted By Anonymous Stan M, Baton Rouge : 12:53 PM ET
Is the FEMA bull never going to end? I think the ones in charge should swap places with these people and then lets see how fast things get done. Or at least make them live with these people until each and everyones needs are met.
Posted By Anonymous Betty Webster NY : 12:53 PM ET
The victims that are the sickest should get the trailers before anyone else. In other words, there needs to be some sort of triage established to get these people out of the tents and into the trailers.
Posted By Anonymous Jared, Cambridge, MA : 12:56 PM ET
It's real obviouus to me what has to happen, is sombody at FEMA has to grow some stones really quickly, and cut through the red tape that's holding up hundreds of trailers that have already been allocated for these people, and which are just sitting idle in a mud pit for crying out loud. To FEMA: Sombody get out from quivering under your desk and move those darned trailers to where they need to be!
Posted By Anonymous Bradford, Ontario, Canada : 12:57 PM ET
The sad truth is that nothing probably will ever be done. Sure, the government will give a little now and then. Some food donations here and there, maybe some supplies. Beyond that though, I don't see the government doing much else. It's almost like they are hanging these people out to dry.

The best thing that could happen is that the communities themselves come together and figure out a way to try and help each other, because I don't see the government coming to their aid. FEMA is too busy arguing about how they don't think they should be paying the contractor the price he is asking for the trailers. They are more worried about money then helping people.
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Flushing, Michigan : 1:00 PM ET
Is it not as simple as FEMA changing their policy to allow these trailers to be sent to flood plains? Policies are made and broken every day. It may not be ideal for FEMA, but it certainly beats living in a tent for these people. I wonder if anyone at FEMA would want their relatives living in a tent for months on end. Get with the program, FEMA!
Posted By Anonymous Jen, Red Lake, Ontario : 1:00 PM ET
I think the conditions are ridiculous. I could not image my family of five living like that. Even though I support our current administration, a huge ball has been drop right here and they have failed to make things right. You can not tell me that hud homes cannot be built for these people. The money there to do it. I elated by the outpour of people that had opened their home to some of these people, but it isn't enough more can be done, but it's not an election year so what do you expect.
Posted By Anonymous Heath Pinkerton, Huntington, Indiana : 1:10 PM ET
I recall seeing a picture of hundreds of FEMA trailers sitting unoccupied in some state, just waiting for delivery. What is the deal FEMA?
Posted By Anonymous Evelyn Stahling, Raleigh, NC : 1:11 PM ET
Not a very fun camping trip... I'm glad CNN still has so many wonderful reporters keeping us up to date on what's happening - and what ISN'T happening - on the Gulf Coast. I'm constantly inspired by the coverage... by seeing how strong people are. If only FEMA had as much integrity and motivation as these hurricane victims. Maybe we'd have some progress by now.
Posted By Anonymous Molly, Richmond, VA : 1:13 PM ET
These people have lost EVERYTHING. In our comfy, surreal lives, we have the luxury of taking things for granted. We assume that when we go home tonight, there will be a house to go to, our family and neighbors will be where they are supposed to be -- at home. We assume that we'll have a place to go get food if we need it. There will also be a bed to sleep on. The next morning, most of us will presumably get up and go to our jobs. That's part of the American routine.

I bet most of the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita also were part of this "routine." It's hard to tell these folks to get up and start over when they have NOTHING to start over with! When their entire "routines" were literally swept away from them. For the sick and elderly, who might have already been dependent on others and/or limited in resources, this situation must make them want to die.

Many Americans have done what we believe is best--donated money. Obviously, money wasn't enough because we are still getting stories of homeless victims. Unfortunately, no one is telling us what they NEED to begin to FIX this mess. The government has been talking about trailers since the week after the hurricane hit, yet nothing has materialized.

TO THE GOVERNMENT: What can ***WE*** the PUBLIC do to help move this situation in the right direction???? Billions of dollars in aid have gone to Katrina, so I'm doubtful that money is the main issue. WHERE ARE WE IN TERMS OF REBUILDING THESE AREAS AND GETTING AID TO THESE PEOPLE???

Is this the best that the United States of America can do? God help us all if it is.
Posted By Anonymous Tracey, Bloomington, IN : 1:14 PM ET
I�m getting kind of tired of all this whining. In all these Katrina sob stories, all I ever hear is how the government did'nt give me this, or how the government failed to provide that, etc. Never a hint of self-sufficiency! Why is it *automatically* the government�s responsibility to take care of everybody who gets hit with misfortune?

This was a natural disaster. The government didn�t make Katrina and shouldn�t be held wholly liable for its effects.
Posted By Anonymous Claude, New York City : 1:15 PM ET
This is sad. Not just with this particular family but with the entire response by the government. You would think that after FEMA and other agencies were grilled over the way they bungled the hurricane response you would think, maybe... just maybe... that they would try harder to help the victims that were displaced by this disaster. I understand they got caught with their pants down when the hurricane hit and it may take a little time to mobilize correctly to help those in need but this has been months. To hear people are still living in tent villages 6 months after is unexcusable. I have passed by a company in NC on route 74 that has repossesed mobile homes. I am just guessing but there must have been at least 15 to 20 mobile homes that were waiting for new owners. Can't the government contact these companies to make arrangements for relocating and renting these homes to ones in need?
Posted By Anonymous Frank, Charlotte NC : 1:16 PM ET
Many states, including mine, jumped to the task immediately after the storms to offer housing and other assistance to the victims - the states themselves as well as thousands of private citizens opened their homes and their pocketbooks to any of the victims. There have been very few takers.

There are many workers in various fields from our area who have been solicited to come down to the storm area to help clean-up and rebuild - they are being paid wages two and three times what they would be paid on their regular jobs. WHY? Because the people in those areas who aren't currently working don't want to work - they didn't work before - and they don't want to work now.

My advice - get off your tooch - quit waiting on FEMA - quit blaming FEMA for your situation - take the bull by the horns and do what you can to help yourselves!

There are plenty of private citizens and privately owned companies out there who are more than willing to help those who want to help themselves - who are willing to relocate to a different area - who want to take a job and work.
Posted By Anonymous George, St. Louis MO : 1:24 PM ET
This really sums everything up: $300M worth of trailer sink into the mud while people live in tents. I hope when history looks back at the Bush administration this is their legacy. This is the epitomy of everything that is wrong with this government. I just can't belive how much of our way of life has been destroyed since 2001. The things, including this, that are happening in our country are appalling. No apologies are made just excuses. Nothing is being fixed or done. It's really frustrating.
Posted By Anonymous Douglas, Exeter, NH : 1:24 PM ET
my son is in the us navy and lives in long beach, ms. He paid a contractor half of his money up front to repair his home. The contractor did not fix his home. His wife had to go on local news to report this guy to get any action. His house is still not fixed. He is living in a travel trailer on base he bought himself. Were is help for people like him who is protecting our country. He has had tour of duty in Iraq and now is in his home port.
Posted By Anonymous Patsy Graham Pontotoc Mississippi : 1:24 PM ET
I can't believe FEMA nor anyone else cannot get anything done. Don't they know how to talk to the providers of whatever equipment they need? Good Grief! You pick up the phone and say: "Here's what we need done; this is the time frame; the money will be wired the instant you notify us the project is finished." So what is the problem? This works for me whenever I need anything done anywhere, anytime.
Posted By Anonymous Bonnie Selmer, Cornell WI 54732 : 1:33 PM ET
"They say that for health reasons they need to live near other, even though they didn't before the storm. FEMA says that may be part of the hold up. "

Huh???? Their residences were blown away, they want to be a little closer and that's a Hold Up???

** speechless **
Posted By Anonymous Ken Grimm, San Angelo, TX : 1:35 PM ET
Are government officials, whether it be FEMA or not, ashamed at how our fellow citizens are living? They should be. We all should be for allowing this to continue. The question is how much more can we take before demanding an immediate response? A response that should have occurred the day after Katrina. Thank you to the 360 crew for keeping this story going.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly - Cygent, Ohio : 1:39 PM ET
What the goverment needs to do is stop wasting time stating the obvious in 228 page reports when they could be delivering trailers and aiding the search for missing people.
Posted By Anonymous Courtney, Chagrin Falls, OH : 1:41 PM ET
All the relatives we had that were affected by the storm have managed to regain some since of normalcy in their lives. Those that had few resources have managed to take the little that was provided to them by FEMA and the NGOs and move on. I volunteered in New Orleans, then Jacksonville and later in central Florida assisting those impacted by the disaster. I had to stop, I was sick and tired of working the phones and the web trying to get help while the some of the "victims" stood around with their hands out waiting for the next round of "assistance."
Posted By Anonymous Corina, Miami, Florida : 1:49 PM ET
What should be done? Easy. FEMA needs to get up off their butts, go to an RV/Trailer/whatever dealer, buy these poor people some trailers, and deliver it to them. I don't understand why this so hard! SIX MONTHS. Just do it! Haven't these people suffered enough?
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Bay Shore, NY : 1:49 PM ET
It is ridiculous that there are acres and acres of FEMA trailors sitting empty in ironically, Hope, Arkansas. No matter how "damaged" FEMA thinks they are, they would sure be better than living in a tent for months on end. I can not believe that this is happening in America and that no one is being held accountable for it.
Posted By Anonymous Keshia Williams -Memphis, TN : 1:50 PM ET
My husband and I went down to Pass Christian twice to help rebuild. It is so sad to see this town that was ravaged by Camille 40 years ago be destroyed yet again. Many of the people we saw were not able to live in their houses due to the mold and the utter destruction so they lived in tents under their carports. In one of the neighborhoods we worked, 14 people had lost their lives (and they were 5 miles inland). There was destruction EVERYWHERE!! I am familiar with the Tent Village of FEMA's. We spent quite a bit of time there. It is a bit like a M*A*S*H set up with small wooden framed square houses, with green tents spread over them. Each "hut" is air conditioned and heated. The food is catered and quite good and the showers are clean and hot. I agree this is far from ideal living conditions but it is quite good compared to some of the situations we saw.
Posted By Anonymous Lanette, Atlanta, GA : 2:01 PM ET
As a long time resident of South Florida, I have witnessed my share hurricane disasters begining with Andrew. Each time, it is proven that the federal goverment is woefully inadaquate in its determination to help. It is not a lack of ability which keeps the federal goverment from helping it's citizens, it's a lack of concern for them. The prevelent feeling is that our goverment hopes that if they ignore the problem long enough, people in the effected areas will simply move on and forget. We in Florida have been dealing with this attitude for years and have a message for all of those in the gulf coast, don't wait for the federal goverment to help you, because they won't.
Posted By Anonymous Teri Martinez, Miramar, FL : 2:06 PM ET
Another fine example of Bigger Gov't isnt better Gov't. As history will look back on this, they will see the best help arrived from organizations with no gov't backing...namely the faith based groups that go in, help as much and as often as they can, and ask no thanks.

It is a sad situation to see empty trailer homes parked by the thousand in one state, and homeless people that could benefit from their use located in another. Surely it cannot be only lack of communication...communication is an open market these days...
Posted By Anonymous Julie, Billings, Montana : 2:07 PM ET
I am a person who initially felt sorry for the victims of Katrina, and blasted this government for its slow response. I think much of my criticism was justified given what has happened.

Now, while other criticize the government for these Tent Cities, I cannot. This is a country that was built by a people who suffered harships and simply dusted themselves off and started over. Yes, Katrina was a tragedy, and yes our government let many people down, but when is enough enough?

Sorry people, you need to move on, it is time, and though the decisions that need to be made are difficult, they need to happen and these people need to stop looking for a handout!
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Reading PA : 2:12 PM ET
What I find ridiculous is how much complaining and finger-pointing has become the "American Way." Instead of taking action, we look for someone to blame. And when we blame, we blame big. I'm sure to some, the president is to blame for the hurricane. Surely the US can alter the course of a hurricane...that is no more accurate today then it has been for any president.

We have all had hardships in our lives. If you have not, then consider yourself blessed. If you have, then ask yourself, did you blame someone else or did you roll up your sleeves and get to work fixing it? Cancer and heart attack victims are faced with the life-ending decisions, and you see them take action to save themselves or at least go down with a fight.

Where's the fight in people who sit waiting for the government to take care of them? Sure, it's a shame these people lost everything, but what were they doing before the storm? Did they just sit around and live off government subsidies?

How does it go again, "He helps those who help themselves."

Instead of bellyaching, the people in New Orleans (and many of them have) should get to work. Same could be said of many of the posts here. If you want to make a change, make a donation. Or pick up a hammer and a change of clothes and pitch in.

Just don't pitch a tent...seems they have some of those already.
Posted By Anonymous Alan, New York, NY : 2:14 PM ET
People's opinion to this question is going to depend on what their view is on the government's role in society. I personally feel that the government should provide care in acute situations and to help people help themselves. I do not think they should be required to provide all care for people that are capable of doing so for themselves. In that situation, the government is there to help you get onto your feet and that should be all. If people choose not to help themselves when they are capable, it is not the government's fault or responsibility.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Charlottesville, VA : 2:15 PM ET
I'll capsulize for you:

1) If ANYONE had an idea the storm was coming, and someone did, regardless of the potential storm level the metro areas should have not only completely cleared out, but gone to smaller surrounding villages to get the people out.
2) Survivors should have had top notch help, shelter, and logistical sevices available to them. See #3.
3) We as Americans rely way too much on our government and not enough on our own abilities. Why are these seemingly able-bodied people still living in tents? Where are the private organizations to help them? Why aren't these folks knocking on doors for help? If kids are in daycare then why are working parents sitting around waiting?
4) We also have an incredibly hypocritical society. We can say things but we don't do things. It's great folks to say they have heart, but what are they doing to help? Pointing out shortcomings is good, suggesting actions to correct them are better.
5) What action have I taken? I look at my own community and instead of throwing out some money and walking away, I am a voice of enablement. Challenge everyone around you to learn how to enable unfortunate folks to get on their feet and help themselves. Show them how to ask for help, help them understand what to ask for, and tell them to teach others how to do the same.
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Chicago, IL : 2:21 PM ET
Just wondering... a quarter of a million people died in the tsunami and they've pretty much rebuilt. 6 months after Katrina and Rita and it still looks like the day after... I know, I was there on my company's business. I'm sorry that this sounds insensitive but I see a bunch images of lazy folks on TV waiting for the government to bail them out. The people in far flug 3rd world countries felt empowered and rebuilt after a disaster 20 times the scale of the hurricanes... meanwhile, the people of the "greatest nation on the earth" [sic] mope around and point their finger at the government for their lot in life. This is really embarrassing for our nation.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Colorado Springs, CO : 2:21 PM ET
I have mixed emotions; I'm angry that so many trailers have been sitting in storage for months now and our government can't cut through the red tape to get those trailers down there and put people in them. How hard is it to get the trucks in there and start towing them down to the disaster area? But from a personal perspective, having lost everything in a fire once and a flood another time, I learned you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and take care of yourself, (and here's the kicker)- no one else is going to do it for you. After we lost it all in a fire, I approached the Red Cross and was told that they had no help they could offer me and my three month old baby, so I got real self-sufficient real fast. The sick and elderly urgently need attention and I wish I knew how to get it to them, but maybe the bigger problem is that we've created a society of people that don't know how to fight back unless someone does it for them, who's fault is that?
Posted By Anonymous Kathleen Nea, Steamboat Springs, Colorado : 2:22 PM ET
In a country as blessed as the United States, we bear a humanitarian responsibility to care for those without the basics of survival -- shelter, food and potable water, clothing. Near my hometown of Mobile, in Bayou la Batre, Alabama many residents are Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian immigrants with minimal English skills. They want to get back to work, yet have no resources to repair and then move their fishing boats back into the water from beached locations. Aid in the form of a way to resume work would put many of these Katrina-affected families on the road to recovery.
Posted By Anonymous Shara Fountain, Atlanta GA : 2:26 PM ET
Its hard to believe that people in the U.S. have to live like this. There are a lot of them that can not work because of health reasons, like this mother and daughter. They are the ones that need the help, and FEMA should give them top priority and give them one of those trailers sitting in Hope, Ark.
If this was happening to top officals in this country, you can bet those trailers would have been in place within a week or 2 after the hurricane.
The problem is not only in the New Orleans area. Miss. also has a LOT of folks who don't have housing either and living in tents. And hurricane season is fast approaching.
Thanks Randi, Anderson and the rest of the CNN reporters who are keeping us informed on what is going on down there.
Posted By Anonymous Jean, St. Charles, Mo. : 2:32 PM ET
No doubt that these people have been on the govt. feeding trough for most of their lives. When the time comes to get off your a** and start helping yourselves they just dont know how to do it.So what are these people going to do?They know of no other life then to keep their hands open and leech off the govt.I am surprised that these people are not clamoring for tv's, dvd players and such.Start helping yourselves.....
Posted By Anonymous Ray Betteridge, Rochester N.Y. : 2:34 PM ET
Thank you for doing this story, but how do you keep looking misery in the face over and over? What kind of emotional support do these people have?- besides each other? I worry that we may be able to supply housing for these people, but they will never recover from the emotional warfare the heart has endured.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl, Wake Forest North Carolina : 2:37 PM ET
This is sad and ridiculous. I pay my taxes and I want these people taken care of decently.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, East Greenwich, RI : 2:40 PM ET
As much as I agree with the majority of people who have responded here, FEMA needing to stop making excuses and get moving, I think that there is a mis-perception of the way the government works in this country.

One of the most touted qualities of America is the sanctity of the individual and the concept of self-reliance and self-determination. These ideals went into the writing of the Constitution and the economic system of this country. This has created enormous opportunities for individual achievement, but has also let to massive discrepancies in the Great Society. America is not a socialist country. Here you are given the basics that you need to survive and the rest is up to you. It isn�t just the poor and downtrodden who are treated this way, anyone without connections or money in this country will suffer when push comes to shove.

We are all appalled at the apparent callousness of the Bush Administration and FEMA, but we must also remember �lower taxes� and �individualism� translates directly into �disenfranchisement� and �isolation� for those that are less fortunate. You cannot rely on this type of government to cater to all of your needs. If you want something done, you have to do it yourself; this is where the individual can really shine, because you can make a difference. Grassroots community action, donations of money, time, and talent from caring Americans *directly* to community organizations, is the only way to rebuild the community. After all, it takes a village, and when we suffer together, we learn to work together.
Posted By Anonymous Steve Kubrak, Washington, DC : 2:43 PM ET
I have no sympathy for these people. If you really want to "make it" in this world, you pick yourself up from difficult times. It's time these people stand up and take ownership of their lives.
Posted By Anonymous Brady Anderson, Wayne PA : 2:45 PM ET
This is the America that the Bush family has envisioned for us. Push the middle class down into poverty, murder the poor with neglect or by sending them to Iraq, sell our industry overseas and give his buddies in the Carlyle Group nice fat no-bid contracts and use the Constitution as a doormat. We are living in a bureaucratic theocracy with a police state.
Posted By Anonymous T.J. - Glassboro, NJ : 2:48 PM ET
I am saddened to learn that my fellow Americans are living in these conditions. Our leaders in the highest ranks of government should be held accountable for a total lack of leadership. I have seen the trailers sitting in Arkansas and am angry that red tape is hurting our brothers and sisters' rights to decent shelter.
Posted By Anonymous Andrew, Orlando, FL : 2:49 PM ET
For the elderly, the sick, the military families with parents overseas, the single parents with children, then something must be done. Clearly, these folks cannot be expected to deal with a disaster such as this by themselves. The people cited in the blog would fall under the sick category. For the able-bodied, the government owes a level of life-preserving assistance, but not free trailers, free housing, free food, free hotels for ever more. This is the USA, not Europe and you are expected to watch out for yourself, buy insurance, be self-sufficient.
Posted By Anonymous mark, plano, tx : 2:54 PM ET
I truly feel sorry for those two individuals. I bet you they didn,t own their own home or apartment; they were living on government subsidies; didn,t work at a job. Now the Government should come in and give them a new trailer(w/generator,fuel,disposal w/pickup). People in this country have low paying jobs that cannot make ends meet. The Mayor and the Governor should resign and let a panel take over and get it straight. They are overwhelmed by the vastness of this natural disaster. I have to live in beautiful Ohio and put up with high cost and cold weather. New Orleans is a dump and always has been. I know this sounds harsh and unkind, but this is America and people need to pick themselves up and quit expecting Uncle Sam to take care of them.
Posted By Anonymous Rick, Canton-Ohio : 2:55 PM ET
Instead of sending the trailers to the gulf coast, why doesn't FEMA send the people to Hope Arkansas where an abundance of these trailers are waiting for needy folks? Surely residents can re-establish their businesses, lives, and families in another part of the country. Is it really a good idea to move trailers into an area that encounters such frequent Hurricanes? Let's get past rebuilding on coastal regions just because we can.... it doesn't make good sense. The ordering of trailers for this region is just another example of a government decision that contains absolutely no logic.
Posted By Anonymous Tim H., Waco, Texas : 6:00 PM ET
These people need to get off their butts and try to do somehing for themselves. These people are just waiting for the government to hold their hands and say its okay and thats sad. I know people are just waiting around to see what kind of free stuff they are going to get. People always looking for that handout instead of helping themselves to better their situation thats the new American way.
Why work when the government is going to feed me, why look for a place to stay when the government is giving me a trailer to live in...SPONGES!
Posted By Anonymous Rick Martinez,Orlando,FL : 6:43 PM ET
I am very interested in seeing this report tonight Randi.This is certainly a country where people feel entitled to having certain things and living a certain way just because they are here. Perhaps that can be traced back to our "relocation" of Native Americans when this country was just beginning and on from there.
Some people are griping about FEMA not sweeping in and making things right. Others are telling the the victims to get over it, rebuild and make new lives for themselves. I think both of these things need to happen. Those living in tent cities and elsewhere do need to be proactive in pursuing new jobs, homes and a new life in the Gulf coast BUT FEMA and other organizations have to provide the support structure for them to be able to do that. Neither FEMA or the victims can fix this situation on their own.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Durham NC : 6:54 PM ET
I truly feel sorry for the Americans/Humans above that have made comments such as "these people should stop expecting Uncle Sam to take care of them". You need to take a drive to Mississippi and see it for yourself. You have no idea what your talking about until you have SEEN it with your own two eyes! Be careful of what you may come back to haunt you one day. I hope you stay warm tonight in your home.
Posted By Anonymous Beth, Lufkin, Texas : 7:07 PM ET
LA, MS and AL suffered from Katrina and other hurricanse. Let's NOT forget NW Florida that is STILL trying to recover from hurricanes of two (2) years ago.

The recovery there is still "ramping up" and still FAR from complete.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Miller Melbourne, FL : 6:08 AM ET
As a Bay Saint Louis resident who lost her home in the hurricane, I must say I understand the mixed opinions on this blog from various parts of the country. It must be hard to read these stories and really imagine what it is like to experience the total shock and destruction that comes with losing everything - your home, belongings, memories, jobs, neigborhood, town, the next town, and the next town, and the town after that.

Please know: not every situation is black and white. There is so much gray. Most people would give anything not to have to take FEMA assistance - to pull themselves up from their bootstraps. I stay in my FEMA trailer because I have nowhere else to go. There are no apartments left to rent, and if there were, we would have that rent on top of the mortgage we pay on our slab that our insurance agency will not pay for. There are no HUD developments for those that qualify - all were destroyed. My husband is active-duty NAVY, and base housing is full. We are not looking for government handouts - there are simply no options.

I cannot speak for all on the Gulf Coast. But I can say that many stories are similar to mine. That many people have circumstances with shades of gray. That police officers, mayors, Seabees returning from Iraq - these people are in FEMA trailers just as those with less noble professions that are so cooly judged.

My husband and I have often thought of the brave victims of the Tsunami. Their heartache resonates with us. Their spirit inspires us. For a time, I felt guilty that I was able to receive treatment different than they had after their tragedy from my government. I then remembered that I live in a country upholding different values. This time, I will let let my country help me - just until I can do it myself.

It won't take me long, I promise.
Posted By Anonymous Celene Mielcarek, Bay Saint Louis, MS : 11:58 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

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