FEMA offers aid in rural areas

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2005

EUTAW-For just over a week the FEMA Mobile Disaster Recovery Center has been stationed on Harris Street in Eutaw. Since that time they have helped numerous victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The unit, which is a 38-foot motor home, provides victims with a place they can meet with FEMA representatives face to face.

Tom Cain, a public information officer for FEMA, said they have been very busy. Cain said they planned to move throughout the Black Belt.

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“We have been pretty busy up here,” Cain said. “This is a mobile DRC so it is set up to make it convenient for people to register for help. Then when the number slows down they select another location to move on to.”

Cain said the main reason they provide the service is for convenience. He said the service allows people in rural areas a chance to contact FEMA officials. However, he said they also needed to register beforehand so the process will run smoothly.

“People need to call and register first for assistance,” Cain said. “That way we can answer any questions they may have. If they have questions about the program or housing repairs we can answer them.”

The advantage of the mobile unit is it allows victims of natural disasters to meet with representatives face to face. Cain said there are also very important steps to being approved for relief that are far easier to do in person.

“It gives them a chance to be face to face,” Cain said. “Also, part of the process is receiving an application. That is part of the process of qualifying.”

Cain said the people of Greene County have been very helpful and grateful for their services.

“The people around here have been wonderful,” Cain said. “You meet some of the nicest people under the worst conditions.”

The mobile center can be used for satellite communication and is equipped with telephones and Internet. There are only 30 such units in existence. The unit also has contact with Washington D.C. and a direct link with FEMA. There is even a television to help keep up with weather changes.

Today the unit will travel a short distance down Highway 14 where it will be parked in Greensboro. The unit will be parked at 1120 Main St., also known as the Homer Center.

The unit will open from noon until 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day except Sunday.