While the effort is underway to get at least 15 flooded out families a day into FEMA mobile homes, FEMA still hasn’t finished removing the mobile homes that could have mold in them. The homes in the Cedar Rapids area have to go to the Grundy County town of Dike to be checked for mold and formaldehyde contamination.
One Palo woman says her FEMA trailer is one of those still sitting on the lot in Marion waiting to be fixed. Mary Oberembt finally found stability in the mobile home after five overnight stops since the flood hit Palo.
"It was nice to think I would be in the same place for several months," Oberembt says. But that feeling only lasted a week. FEMA moved her to a hotel because of mold concerns in the exterior water-heater compartment. Three weeks have passed and the wait continues.
Oberembt says, "Nobody has an answer when we will be back here." Oberembt only stops by for short visits, no overnight stays. She wonders if her temporary home will ever leave the Squaw Creek Village Mobile Home Park, or if she should just move back in. FEMA spokesman Vince Clark says storage problems are delaying the removal process.
"That’s why more there are more here than we want because…we looked at storage options but there’s not a lot of storage options," Clark says. Only a little more than half of the 270 mobile homes of concern are gone. The goal is to move people like Oberembt and their belongings immediately from one mobile home to another following proper inspections. Oberembt says the wait is frustrating, and it’s causing security concerns as she found out there are trailers being broken into.
Clark couldn’t comment on any specific incidents involving break-ins , but says it’s a common occurrence following natural disasters. Oberembt looks forward to finding that same stability she had when she first moved into a mobile home. FEMA hopes to have her safely living with the 70 other flood families in Marion mobile homes soon.
FEMA says some families chose to stay in the mobile homes with the exterior water heater compartment, despite their warnings. Those people eventually will have to move when FEMA brings in replacement mobile homes.