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FEMA to continue trailer distribution despite warnings

Little Rock_The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide mobile homes to victims of last week's tornadoes in Arkansas and Tennessee, despite a health warning about high formaldehyde levels in trailers used by victims of the 2005 hurricanes.

James McIntyre, a FEMA spokesman, said the agency would begin the process to vet the mobile homes parked at the Hope airport before releasing them to victims of last week's storms. McIntyre said FEMA will not be "putting anything on hold."

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials are urging that Gulf Coast hurricane victims be moved out of their government-issued trailers as quickly as possible after tests found toxic levels of formaldehyde fumes.

McIntyre said that, despite that recommendation, FEMA would proceed with its plan to aid victims of last week's storms. He said there will be a process in place to ensure safety.

McIntyre said the agency would be releasing more information about what those steps would be during a news conference in Louisiana later Thursday.

Tennessee state officials estimate the tornadoes destroyed 517 homes and 61 mobile homes. Estimates in Arkansas suggest about 300 homes were destroyed.

McIntyre said the agency has 5,650 mobile homes available for use at the Hope airport. He said 300 of them are ready for immediate deployment.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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