New FEMA location at Beach Baptist Church on Fort Myers Beach

Reporter: Jolena Esperto Writer: Jolena Esperto
New FEMA location at Beach Baptist Church on Fort Myers Beach. (CREDIT: WINK News)

A new FEMA location opens at Beach Baptist Church on Fort Myers Beach.

Saturday is the first-day FEMA is at the new location and they will be here there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for any assistance questions.

FEMA has also announced that federal support for hurricane recovery is now more than $1 billion.

Mike Wade, FEMA spokesperson said, “we have what we call our disaster survivor assistance team. And they’re there to register people look up their file, update it, or, and provide feedback to the survivor. They’re not in a position to take documents and things like that are full disaster recovery centers.”

Ron Fleming visited the center today and his house on Fort Myers Beach is a total loss.

“Hopefully within a year I can get back in FEMA is providing disaster assistance and as far as relocation, and they help with rent, that sort of thing. But sometimes the answers you get are contradicted by a different agency. So it’s very confusing. And I mean, I’m old, but I’m not that old that, it’s confusing. And people that are having a problem and went through this terrible tragedy and lost loved ones,” Flemings said.

Flemings said he can see why it would be hard for people to really figure out what’s going on.

“This is pretty devastating. When you compare it to other things, but on the same token, for you and me, if something happened to you during this, no matter how insignificant is to other people, it’s big to you. So we look at that, and try and provide that level of assistance to everybody, no matter what their income level is, no matter what their damage is, but we can provide them assistance based on their own need and what our programs can provide,” Wade said.

Christopher Donovan stopped by the site to ask some questions, but he says has not got far with other FEMA sites nearby.

“My best friend was with me as I was mid-island, and we were here for the entire hurricane, ‘his mother’s got to house Smit island, his brother’s got a house, they were all destroyed, my house was destroyed. Thankfully, I survived. We both survived. For the first three days, nobody was here. It’s like nobody’s helping anybody. You know, FEMA has got all this stuff set up and people are walking around. But nobody’s helping anybody. The first few days, it was no food or water, and still like, it’s the charities really that are doing all the work on,” Donovan said.

“I’ve been told, I haven’t witnessed this, but FEMA will walk you through it step by step. And hopefully, they put the way to the federal government and FEMA and get them here. Keep them here, because it’s going to take years just to get rid of all the debris. And so hopefully, they stay and continue the disaster cleanup and get Fort Myers Beach back to where we all want it to be. This is my home,” Flemings said.

FEMA has provided more than $564 million in individual assistance to jumpstart survivor recovery. A FEMA representative said that they will remain at this location at Beach Baptist Church.

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