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Mississippi Residents Signing Up for FEMA Disaster Assistance

By Rhonda Miller | Published 05 Sep 2012 11:24pm | comments
Heather Dewberry and her fiance Anthony Mathieu are expecting a baby in two months. They lost everything in the Hurricane isaac floodwaters that hit hard in their Helena community. They came to the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Pascagoula to see if they could get assistance until they can find a new place to live and Mathieu can make up for lost work hours at his welding job at Ingalls shipbuilding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s four Disaster Recovery Centers are getting a steady flow of Mississippians trying to get back to normal after Hurricane Isaac.  MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports there are applications and phone calls and personal challenges that come with lives interrupted.

In the hot, steamy Pascagoula afternoon, a very pregnant Heather Dewberry is in line outside the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. There’s not much to imagine about how’s she doing.

"It’s not fun. Especially standing out here in this hot heat and having contractions. I’ve had contractions ever since the hurricane. And they’ve had to stop them twice.“

Dewberry lives in Helena near Escatawpa one of the communities hit hardest by flooding during Isaac.

"This is actually my third hurricane from here.  And we lost everything this time. I’ve never lost anything before, but this is the first time."

She’s with her fiancé, Anthony Mathieu, who’s feeling the pressure of the baby coming in a couple of months and losing everything in the floodwaters.

"Extremely, terrible right now. Hot, aggravated, broke. I work at Northrup-Grummond, or Ingalls. I’m having to take off to come out here and do all this mess. I’m missing out on money right now as we speak.” ”What kind of work do you do?”  “I’m a welder. So I mean, I’m missing out on everything I’d normally make at Ingalls. That  and then with the hurricane coming through, they let us off all last week, pretty much killed my paycheck.”

They’re among more than 6,000 Mississippians who have contacted FEMA in the past few days. FEMA has already approved more than $1.2 million for the individual assistance program in Mississippi. It covers a variety of losses caused by Isaac.

Stephanie Richardson and her husband run a small audio production company out of their home in Gautier.

"People could see what was coming a week in advance, you know.  So we lost some work due to that issue. For someone like us, that does the type of business we do, it looks like it’s a continual spiral for us."

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers are open in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl River Counties.  Hours are 7 a.m. to 7  p.m., seven days a week.  Residents are encouraged to apply first online or by telephone. 

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Note: For information on disaster recovery help call FEMA at  800-621-3362 , register at www.disasterassistance.govor go to mpbonline.org.

 

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Heather Dewberry and her fiance Anthony Mathieu are expecting a baby in two months. They lost everything in the Hurricane isaac floodwaters that hit hard in their Helena community. They came to the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Pascagoula to see if they could get assistance until they can find a new place to live and Mathieu can make up for lost work hours at his welding job at Ingalls shipbuilding.


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