FEMA Talks to Evacuees in Augusta

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September 15, 2005
Until now, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, was focusing all their efforts on the Gulf Coast. Now they’re fanning across the county, including Augusta. News 12 talks with agents as they answer to a room full of evacuees.

It’s a hotel lobby turned classroom. The students are evacuees in need of jobs. The teachers are two FEMA representatives called in special by the city.

“That’s all I know. We’ve been going from one place to another for the last nine days,” said Linas Cernius, FEMA.

And it’s been a very long nine days of answering the same questions in different towns. It’s the first time since Katrina hit that FEMA has visited Augusta. This session is held at the Ramada Inn where more than one hundred evacuees are living temporarily.

“I’m not the head of my household so I don’t know what’s up with FEMA. But I did lose all my belongings,” said Clifford Stewart.

But even with federal assistance, namely $2,000 checks and rent-free rooms, some New Orleans natives are still not satisfied. Keith Lebeau left the meeting early.

“There’s a lot of building people’s confidence up and it’s like I’m gonna take you for this ride but then after this I’m gonna let you go and you’re on your own,” Lebeau said.

A moment Clarence Foster is preparing for, filling out an application for a local apartment. Other evacuees taking pages of notes, some too young to even understand.

“I mean, these people have been through a lot and we’re just here to answer their questions,” said Linas Cernius, FEMA.

Just four letters, but a sight for sore eyes as the teachers hand out homework with facts, phone numbers and a federal seal.