South Struggles to Handle Tornadoes' Homeless
Mayor warns of 'humanitarian crisis' if help doesn't come quickly
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2011 5:56 AM CDT
SLAUGHTERVILLE, OK. - MAY 11: A man walks in front of a trailer home slammed by a tornado into a tree at the Prairie Creek Village trailer park May 11, 2010 in Slaughterville, Oklahoma. The National...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Three days after tornadoes devastated the South, the thousands left homeless are emerging as a major problem, reports the LA Times. At least 1,100 are living in emergency shelters, with thousands more in churches or with friends and family. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox warned of a "humanitarian crisis" if more help did not come soon. "I lost everything I had to Katrina, so I came here," said an 80-year-old man from New Orleans. "Now I lost everything here."

Despite FEMA and contractors trying to move quickly, many residents don't want cheap, prefabricated housing in their neighborhoods. "I don't think any of us would like to see substandard housing built in our areas," Maddox said. "But then, how do you tell someone you're not going to be able to have a home?" And many people fear new storms would be dangerous in trailers or other temporary shelters. "What if another tornado comes?" asked a woman whose family had been sleeping in a gym. "I don't want to live in no trailer."