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FEMA reopens disaster recovery centers in North Florida Monday

Idalia Survivors still face challenges
Posted at 11:19 PM, Nov 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-26 23:20:00-05
  • FEMA will reopen Disaster Relief Centers on Monday in Mayo, and Madison.
  • Many community members in the Big Bend are still dealing with the aftermath of Idalia.
  • Watch the video above to see the reaction of the news.


“This is what we look forward to, especially Christmas shopping. People don’t buy Christmas all year."

That was Christopher James, owner of a Christmas shop in Perry Florida.

“I’m not quitting but it’s hard, it really is hard on somebody," he says.

James was telling me about the effects he’s still facing from hurricane Idalia. Buckets of water are seen here catching Sunday's rain droplets due to a leaking roof. Trees are also resting on top of the shop after crashing through the roof four months ago.

I talked more with James about his experience with FEMA since he’s already registered for assistance. He explains his frustration.

“They want you to register then if you can’t qualify for the amount of money or they don’t feel deemed that they have enough to give you, I guess, they want you to apply for that small business loan but if you can’t get that small business loan… if you can’t get the small business loan then you go back to FEMA.”

I reached out to FEMA’S public information officer, Alberto Pillot, about the frustration James and others are feeling.

He says, quote, “You have to always keep in touch with FEMA. For any needs, you have to try and call the 1-800 number. We want to make sure they always keep in touch with FEMA.”

James's neighbor, Debra Mims, believes registering would help get things started but believes FEMA should do more.

“I think they need to go further in the assistance that they offer. There’s a lot of cost that are not covered, even if you have insurance.”

Mims was one who didn’t have home damage but did see debris and impacts of the storm.

“It is important to get registered because there is some help," she says. "I think they can do just a little bit more.”

Wednesday is the deadline to apply for what help there is.

For those who need in-person assistance with the process, FEMA’s Disaster Relief Centers in Mayo and Madison reopen Monday, after the Thanksgiving break. The DRCs will be open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

As for James, he still waits for more assistance to get his business up and running again.