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FEMA Joins Hurricane Preparedness Workshop

Robin E. Smith, spokeswoman with FEMA, shows two of the information pamphlets available during the workshop. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Everything people need to know about the 2018 hurricane season was presented during a preparedness workshop held here in La Feria.

Nathan Flores, an emergency management planner with Cameron County, gave a detailed talk on what people need to do as the hurricane season is about to get busier, usually during the months of August and September.

“Are you ready?” he said. “Do you have a family exit plan? Do you know what to do, what to take and where to go?”

Those and many other questions were asked by Flores who made his presentation in Spanish last Tuesday at the Lee facility of La Feria school district. An English presentation followed later in the day.

About a dozen organizations participated in the event to distribute pamphlets, brochures and emergency gadgets to those attending the workshop hosted by La Feria Chamber of Commerce.

Among them were: Cameron County Precinct 5; U.S. Small Business Administration; Rio Grande Valley Food Bank; Valley Proud; Cameron County Public Health Department as well as others.

A representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was also there to provide information to those impacted by the June flood.

Robin Smith, a FEMA spokeswoman, said area residents whose homes or businesses were impacted by the downpour should contact the agency as soon as they can.

They need to register by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Smith said last months flooding is an example of what can happen again whether people live in flood designated zones or not.

“There is no such thing as a flood free area nowadays,” she said. “And the notion of a 100-year flood zone should be disregarded.”

Smith said not everybody could receive assistance from FEMA but the federal entity will refer applicants that did not qualify to other organization like the SBA.

Disaster survivors must meet the following criteria to be considered for assistance through the Individuals and Households Program:

  • Disaster losses are in a Presidentially-declared disaster area
  • The damage to the home must have been caused by the declared disaster;
  • The homeowner must provide proof of ownership;
  • Both renters and homeowners may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA) through FEMA. ONA helps survivors with uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster.
  • A member of the household must be a United States citizen, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien;
  • The damaged home is where the applicant lives the majority of the year;
  • The applicant must have maintained flood insurance if assisted by FEMA in a previous disaster;
  • The damaged home is inaccessible or not livable due to the disaster; and
  • The disaster survivor has necessary expenses or serious needs as a result of the disaster that are not covered by insurance or any other source.
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