Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart talks with RCMA staff while FEMA representatives inside the building gather information from local residents impacted by Hurricane Irma. (Submitted photo/Travis Anderson)
Although Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sunday, September 10th, it took FEMA representatives five days to arrive in Immokalee. On Friday, FEMA representatives were finally available at Immokalee High School and RCMA in order to help local residents file claims for assistance. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart also arrived on Friday and spoke with American Red Cross volunteers at Immokalee High School before traveling to RCMA where he toured the facility and got a close up look at how FEMA representatives were gathering information. When asked why it has taken FEMA so long to arrive in Immokalee, Congressman Diaz-Balart said that “We went through one of the largest natural disasters to hit our country. FEMA is working in Texas and throughout Florida. But, the key is that we need people to register for FEMA assistance. FEMA has various programs that people might quality for, but they have to register first.” Maura Diaz Jarken said that her family arrived at RCMA at 8am to register for FEMA assistance, but by 2pm they were still waiting in line. When the temporary FEMA center first opened, only three representatives were on location to help. As the morning went on, local volunteers stepped up to help gather the necessary information from those in line.
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart speaks with American Red Cross volunteers at Immokalee High School. (Submitted photl/Travis Anderson)
Those wishing to register for FEMA assistance do not need to do so in person. You may visit www.disasterassistance.gov. FEMA will gather personal and household information in order to process your claim. The Major Disaster Declaration related to Hurricane Irma was declared on September 10, 2017. Within one week, FEMA had already approved over $21 million in federal assistance.