FEMA representatives arrive in Puna to assess damage

Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center, Pahoa

Federal help is on the way for storm victims.

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived in the Puna district Friday to assess storm damage.

At the disaster assistance recovery center, different agencies are on hand to provide their services. Information gathered here will be sent to FEMA to help bring aid to storm victims.

It’s been more than a week after Iselle hit and residents are still doing without the basic necessities.

At the recovery center, victims can not only get supplies, they can also get their questions answered on a host of topics, such as insurance coverage.

“It’s amazing what’s happening. We had 300 people yesterday, many of them said they hadn’t seen anyone yet,” said Kevin Richards with Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. “Once they’re satisfied that our numbers meet their needs, then we would go for a presidential declaration and the federal resources would be flown in.”

State officials say they’re certain that conditions on the Big Island warrant aid from FEMA. “We wouldn’t invite them if we didn’t think so,” Richards said.

So the first step is being done and that is FEMA doing their preliminary damage assessments.

Once those resources start coming in, then federal recovery centers will be set up in the area.

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