Recovery Team to Help Flood Victims after FEMA Leaves

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DONNA- FEMA will stop taking applications for registration on January 25. Many people want to know how they can get help once FEMA representatives leave the Rio Grande Valley.

A long-term recovery team called Faith Communities for Disaster Recovery will continue to assist in the area for as long as it takes.

The October floods took almost everything from some people, including Maria Zamora.

“In the middle of the flooding, my house got all wet, the trailer,” she said. The water went inside; everything was ruined.”

Zamora said she’s optimistic things will get better. Three months after the storm, aid is finally coming. However, the help isn’t coming from FEMA.

“I felt really blessed, very happy because God had blessed us,” Zamora said. “He was helping us. It was something good for my kids, for my family. We were struggling since we do not have a stove. I can't count on a stove or a washing machine, everything was ruined.”

Faith Communities for Disaster Recovery helped organize the rebuilding of Zamora’s home.

"We are different faith communities and organizations that are interested in working together to ensure that we can organize and better respond, as far as the long term,” Sister Norma Pimentel said.

The organization is no stranger to disasters. They’ve been helping with long-term recovery in the Valley for 22 years.

"We make sure that if there is still the need out there in our community, we can actually help these families,” Pimentel said.

While FEMA brings aid to those affected, they can’t stay in the Valley forever. Faith Communities for Disaster Recovery then comes in to help.

"After FEMA leaves, we are still here,” Pimentel said. “And we want to make sure that we can follow up with these families and see how we can help them."

Maria Zamora said she never thought her home would be whole again. Faith Communities for Disaster Recovery gets their funding through grants. For the next two weeks, they will be sending groups to assess the damaged area.

The final day to register for FEMA is January 25, but that doesn’t mean they will leave. They will continue to stay to answers questions about appeals.

In Hidalgo County, FEMA has approved around $2.6 million for 557 homes. In Willacy, they approved more than $400,000 for 159 homes. And in Cameron County, FEMA approved about $250,000 for 116 homes.