Hurricane Victims Homeless, Angry

They say good things come to those who wait. Vincent Robie, left homeless by Hurricane Katrina, hardly believes that any more.

"I'm just waiting on my FEMA trailer," Robie tells CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker.

It's been almost three months since Katrina blew his Biloxi, Miss. home away. Since, he says, President Bush, touring the city, assured him help and a FEMA trailer were on the way.

"They come by and OK'd me for a FEMA trailer, but when they gonna bring it? I don't know," Robie wonders.

You hear that question every day everywhere along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where hundreds of people are still living in pup tents. And nobody seems to know the answer.

Frank Corder runs the Economic Development Council in nearby Pascagoula.

"Patience runs thin after a while," Corder says.

Corder's homeless, just like 6,000 other Pascagoula residents, he says. One hundred times that many were displaced from Alabama to Louisiana and FEMA has met only a fraction of the need, rolling out 500 trailers a day.

"So if you do the math on that, that's a long time. And our people can't wait. It's getting colder down here," Corder says.

FEMA calls this criticism unfair and insists it has put more people in more trailers more quickly than ever before.

FEMA blames Katrina, the country's worst disaster, and says trailers can't be built any faster. Even now, thousands wait in staging areas for residents to clear spaces and local bureaucrats to cut red tape for trailer parks.

"I'm not sure anyone can build it out any faster than what is being done right now," Michael Beeman, a Mississippi FEMA coordinator, says. "A lot of people say they can, but I have not even seen anybody that can lay it down on paper and show me how anyone thinks it can be done faster."

But even FEMA knows it's not fast enough. People wait weeks for FEMA to hook trailers to sewage and electricity. So, it's set up tent cities for those at the bottom of the waiting list. Robie is just one Katrina victim.

"I'm just praying that FEMA will bring me my trailer," Robie says. "I've been approved. What's the hold up?"
  • Sean Alfano

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