Cleaning up after the flood

FEMA sets up assistance desks at hardware stores

HARLINGEN — Residents walking into Home Depot or Lowe’s can now find more than items to repair their homes.

They also can find a helping hand to advise them on what to do when it comes to rebuilding their homes.

Flood victims in Cameron, Willacy and Hidalgo counties who are rebuilding and repairing their houses after the severe storms and floods of June 24-25 get free hazard mitigation consultations from FEMA representatives.

The advisors will be answering questions about rebuilding and protecting homes from future disaster-related damage. Topics include flood insurance and elevating of utilities. Most of the information provided is do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

“We would like to provide tips and advice and mitigation support for future weather related disasters,” La-Tanga Hopes, FEMA Public Information Officer, said.

“Most people that have already received their grants are going to a Home Depot or a Lowe’s to get what they need, which is why we chose to set up here,” she said at the Home Depot in Harlingen.

Hopes mentioned there is a great importance in trying to prevent more flooding disasters from happening, which is why they are trying to meet as many flood victims as they can.

“When we use the word mitigation what we mean is to take time and plan and prevent, tying your shoe will prevent you from eventually falling and by preparing your home you can prevent flooding from happening,” she said.

Teresa Guzman, of Raymondville, walked in at the Home Depot in Harlingen and stopped by at the assistance desk to take a look at the informative pamphlets.

Guzman has two bedrooms in her home that are sunken and were badly flooded, with 12 inches of mold.

“We stopped by to see the information they are providing because we really did not know they are giving out this kind of help,” Guzman said.

People who need assistance with flooding disaster assistance can attend the center in La Feria located at 1001 Pancho Maples Drive and call 1-800-621-FEMA.