FEMA employees work through the holidays

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Wayne West got the one Christmas gift he had on his list this year: a new home.

FEMA workers installed his mobile housing unit (MHU) on Monday for him and his twin girls on East Brookstown Drive in Baton Rouge. He said it's been a long process, but well worth the wait.

"We've been going through this and going through that," West said. "Waiting on this and waiting on that, but we just stayed strong and just stayed in there and we survived and FEMA looked out for me, so I thank everybody."

FEMA workers did not take a Christmas holiday. More than 140 employees showed up for work on December 25 and 26. Coordinator Charles Maskell said they were happy to sacrifice family time to lend a hand.

"There's nobody complaining about doing it, but you know, we're people, too," Maskell said. "You know what I mean and it's times like this that you get to see an applicant and they're just so happy about what happens."

FEMA officials said they have installed just under 900 MHUs since Thanksgiving and the end is in sight. They hope to finish installing units by January 31, but there are a lot of factors at play.

"Every day, there's something, some situation that we previously didn't know about or there's things that happen that we find out about or that type of thing. So, plenty of things pop up here and there or that type of thing, but for the vast majority, our target date is January 31, sir," Maskell added.

As MHU installation wraps up, FEMA will be diverting its resources to helping volunteer organizations assist people recover from the flood.

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