FEMA still in Angelina county, some deadlines approaching

By Mystic Matthews

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - FEMA officials have now been in Angelina County for nearly two weeks and DRC manager Houston Hester says lots of people have turned out to file for federal assistance.

"We've actually seen more than I expected to see at a mobile DRC, and so far we've seen in excess of 400 people which is a good turnout," says Hester.

Although there is plenty of time to file, time is running out for disaster unemployment assistance.

"That will run out on the 15th of this month.  We've seen very few people in this area actually made unemployed by the disaster, but if anyone has, they have the better part of a week to come in and apply to that.  We have the necessary phone number and location they need to go," says Hester.

While FEMA is working to help individuals, Governor Rick Perry is working with FEMA to help the cities.

"While there is much work left to be done, reimbursing local governments for their response and clearing the wreckage left by this destructive storm are essential for communities recovering from Hurricane Ike," says Governor Perry.

Which means before, cities like Lufkin would only get about 75% of debris clean up done, before FEMA money ran out.  Now a 100% will be paid for. So the $700,000 spent on removal and disposal will be covered.

"The Governor giving us an extension will help the community out so we can get some of this debris out," because one Lufkin resident says the debris has really become an issue.

The city has seven different crews working six days-a-week, which neighbors are glad to hear because the piles are becoming a nuisance.

"I've had a problem with small mice in my house. They weren't here before, so I assume these debris piles are cultivating that.  It's yucky and it's going to be a fire hazard too."

They are going by ward in the city, which there are six of and they expect to be wrapped up in another couple weeks.

To begin the assistance process, residents can register at www.fema.gov or by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-462-7585, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Applicants can get guidance on the appeals issue at any DRC or by calling FEMA's Helpline at the same numbers.