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Central Floridians wait in line for hours to get help at FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers

A muddy American flag is draped over a chair outside a flooded-out mobile home at a retirement community in Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
A muddy American flag is draped over a chair outside a flooded-out mobile home at a retirement community in Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

FEMA has set up ten Disaster Recovery Centers throughout the state since Hurricane Ian to provide resources and information to survivors of the storm. WMFE’s Danielle Prieur visited a site in Orange county and has this report.

⬇️ Centers are open 7 days a week. Please note times based on location.

For info & DRC openings – https://t.co/S49ep6ksE8 pic.twitter.com/qecJ1cVGrE

— FL Division of Emergency Management (@FLSERT) October 11, 2022

Dozens of Central Floridians started to line up at Barnett Park early on Tuesday morning, well before the center opened at 7 am. 

“Since 6 o’clock. We need a lot of patience because we need to wait a lot of time.”

That’s local small business owner Eva Robles. Robles is here to file a claim with the Small Business Administration. She says her rental units incurred damage during the storm mostly to: 

“Well, most parts of the windows, and the ceiling.”

Six hours later, around lunchtime, she was finally able to file her claim. She’s hopeful help is on the way. 

But when Lauretta Clarkequeeley saw the line that had formed by noon, she says she turned around. 

Clarkequeeley needs help fixing a leaky roof at home.

“Yeah, I did an application, but it didn’t really go through so I was coming here to get some kind of help. But the line in there is too long. I gotta work. So I gotta go home and go rest.”

The center is open from 9 am until 6 pm daily, and FEMA and other local, state and federal partners can provide resources and other information to survivors. 

Copyright 2022 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Danielle Prieur