Hurricane season ended Thursday. Hurricane Irma hit Florida back in September. Six weeks ago, Lee County commissioners sent a letter to the White House, asking for more help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. County officials seem pleased with the emergency agency’s response.
In mid-October, Lee County’s board of commissioners sent a letter to the White House, asking that FEMA provide more compensation for debris removal from 75 percent to 90 percent and that the county quote “desperately needed more timely answers from FEMA that could be relied upon to make multi-million dollar decisions” end quote.
There’s still been no response from the White House. Lee County’s Emergency Management Director Lee Mayfield said although it can be challenging working with a federal organization, communication between FEMA and the county is now good.
Mayfield said now they’re in the preliminary stages of tackling flood mitigation in low-lying areas like Bonita Springs.
"So what we're doing now is working with FEMA to identify what funding sources are available, working with our municipalities to coordinate our efforts with them and really again the beginning stages of that longer term process," said Mayfield. "This will be a long road."
He said there’s no word yet on if the emergency management agency will increase compensation for debris removal. That’s because the county may still be cleaning up into the new year.
Mayfield said that over 125,000 Lee County residents have applied for individual disaster assistance. The registration deadline has passed, but people can still go to the website to update pre-existing accounts.
"If you still have issues, you can still work with FEMA," Mayfield said of people who registered before the Nov. 24 deadline. "They're still there to take those calls."
Mayfield said that while hurricane season is over, the recovery is always the most difficult part of a storm.