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FEMA disaster team assesses damage in Okeechobee County after Hurricane Ian

Affected residents seek help after storm damages homes
Posted at 5:18 PM, Oct 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-07 18:03:24-04

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — The impacts of Hurricane Ian are being felt across Florida, including in Okeechobee County.

Damage there is proving to be a difficult challenge for some residents more than a week after the storm.

An Okeechobee County spokesperson said that FEMA disaster teams are canvassing the county trying to get a look at the damage from Ian. While not on the scale of Florida's west coast, the recovery has been slow.

James Alberti is worried about the roof of his home in Okeechobee County.

"That roof is very unstable," he said.

RELATED: Here's how to help victims of Hurricane Ian

James Alberti, home damaged in Okeechobee County by Hurricane Ian
James Alberti of Okeechobee County discusses the damage his home sustained from Hurricane Ian.

Alberti said the damage to his home occurred when Hurricane Ian's fierce outer bands snapped trees and pounded buildings across Florida.

"The only thing I'm concerned about is keeping this water out, so it doesn’t cause any more damage," Alberti said.

Now with a tarp over part of his roof, he's wondering if there is any help coming.

"Waiting to see it FEMA will help us out, seeing if the county is doing anything, anything on the state level from Florida," Alberti said.

According to FEMA's online map, they are offering assistance to individuals only in areas that were hit hardest.

Counties in Florida that FEMA is offering assistance after Hurricane Ian
Okeechobee County is currently not among the counties that FEMA is offering assistance in Florida after Hurricane Ian.

Okeechobee County is asking property owners to report the damage on the county's website.

So far, the only assistance available is through the small business administration. But for Alberti and his wife, living on fixed benefits is not easy.

"With my financial situation, I wouldn't be able to pay a loan off," he said. "I wouldn't want to jeopardize losing what I own now."

An Okeechobee County spokesperson said they hope to have more information soon for those residents looking for assistance.

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