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    Hurricane Maria survivors sign up for aid through FEMA

    Hurricane Maria survivors sign up for aid through FEMA

    Photo By Sgt. Thomas Calvert | An ice cream vendor counts his cash as disaster survivors line up to register with...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Christina Westover 

    24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element

    In the event of a natural disaster, many people are left in devastation. They can be left with property damage, lack of food and water, and no place to go. In cases as devastating as Hurricane Maria, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is dispatched to help by providing immediate disaster assistance.

    In the municipality of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, FEMA is focusing on the registration of locals to get the right resources where they are most needed as efficiently as possible.

    “The importance of FEMA registration is to get the person’s information so we can help get them the resources they need,” said Nathan Ellis, a disability integration advisor with FEMA. “You can register three ways: by phone, by internet, and in person. The problem with registering for FEMA in Puerto Rico is that almost the entire island is without connectivity.”

    Typically, individual registration is completed online, but locations with very limited to no connectivity require alternate means. At Aguadilla, residents are completing individual registration by providing their information directly to a registering official who then inputs that information onto forms saved on their laptop computers.

    The Disaster Survivor Assistance Team in Aguadilla is helping register people in-person this week. There are approximately 10 to 20 DSATs across Puerto Rico helping to register people for FEMA.

    “As we register them, we also go back to do status checks and updates to make sure they got the help they needed,” said Byron Rivera, a Hatillo, Puerto Rico native and a DSA team leader. “We often go door to door to relay information because of the loss of power.”

    This face-to-face approach is one of the most important aspects of FEMA’s disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

    “The goal of this week is to register as many people as possible,” said Ellis. “But also to get our face out to the public and let them know we’re here.”

    Soldiers from the 544th Military Police Company out of Ramey Base, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, helped with the registration process by working in conjunction with FEMA and state troopers to help with the flow of people coming in for registration.

    “This makes us feel very great being able to help out,” said Spc. Yoel Rivera, a Soldier assigned to 544th MP Co and a native of Aguada, Puerto Rico. “Everyone is working together to rebuild our country and make things go back to normal as soon as possible.”



    Date Taken: 10.04.2017
    Date Posted: 10.04.2017 22:22
    Story ID: 250631
    Location: AGUADILLA, PR 

    Web Views: 335
    Downloads: 1
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