Evacuees express frustration with FEMA - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Evacuees express frustration with FEMA

September 13, 2005

Albany-- It's been three weeks since Hurricane Katrina swept through Gulf Coast States and left hundreds of miles of devastation.

"I lost my car. I lost everything in my house so I have nothing, absolutely nothing to go back to," says Tarlita Howard. New Orleans evacuee Tarlita Howard has nothing to go back to but she's been looking forward to some help from the government, help she says has been slow in coming. "He's coming down here like John Wayne to rescue us and hasn't given us anything that we don't already know," says Howard.

Evacuees at the shelter have been waiting for days to hear directly from FEMA. Tuesday, one empty-handed representative arrived. "His sole purpose here is to answer questions. That's it. He's not here to take any applications or get you the assistance that you need or any of that," says Howard.

"Just waiting for FEMA and finally FEMA gets here and all he's here to offer is guidance, that's it," says evacuee Thomas Patton.

Thomas Patton and his family are thankful for someone to answer questions but were surprised to hear the answer about when and where their financial assistance was coming. "They mailed my 2,000 dollar check to my disaster residence. How are they going to mail my check to a house that's not even there? I don't understand," says Patton.

The FEMA representative informs them to keep calling the 1-800 numbers and checking online. "He says I don't have any money in my pocket and I don't have any tricks you know. O.K well tell us how we can get what we need to get and stop trying to be John Wayne," says Howard.

Evacuees still have unanswered questions and uncertainty from the government but are thankful for a sure place to stay here in Georgia. "If it had not been for this church who supported the people here, giving us food, housing, some direction, I don't know where a lot of us would be," says Howard.

But many still wait for the financial assistance to begin a new life on their own.

The FEMA representative will be at the shelter from 9 until 4:30 this week to answer questions from Katrina evacuees.

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