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Editorial: Disaster assistance

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

As residents in Caruthersville, Mo., continue to reclaim their lives and their town following a devastating tornado two months ago, they are also getting a taste of how the federal government responds to disasters.

The nation has watched the government's actions in the wake of two of the most destructive hurricanes in recent history along the Gulf Coast. With another hurricane season upon us, countless residents -- and former residents -- of that area are still months away from anything resembling recovery.

In Caruthersville, storm victims are getting a taste of how the federal bureaucracy acts in times of dire need.

One example is the provision of temporary housing for residents whose homes were destroyed or were damaged too much to be lived in. Single individuals have been given mobile homes, most with two or more bedrooms, while family groups of four or more are given cramped travel trailers.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has guidelines such as lot sizes and flood plains to take into consideration. But when a large family gets a travel trailer next door to a single neighbor with a mobile home, it's hard to understand those guidelines -- or the lack of common sense that too many federal programs fail to possess.


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