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FEMA assistance critical to save one-month old baby

Posted at 10:42 PM, Dec 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 06:54:17-05

IMMOKALEE, Fla. -- Post-Hurricane Irma help is still a strong need in the city of Immokalee. One family fears the mold in their house will begin to harm their one-month old baby.

“Is that worth $1,000 dollars? Is a life of a baby worth a thousand dollars?” said Alberson Mervilus, as he pointed to the nearly five feet of mold that has covered the exterior of his house.

Mervilus says FEMA came to inspect the house two months ago. When there, they applied a blue tarp to cover the water-soaked roof and he received $1,000 in assistance. But the money is hardly enough to cut the high cost for the family of six.

“A thousand dollars? When we have damage over $20,000 dollars? That’s a slap in the face.”

The Irma victim attended the one day Disaster Recovery Center at the Immokalee Community Center, Sunday, to ask for more help. FEMA workers were able to help the family file an appeal, but say a ruling could take 60 to 90 days. Still, staffers are doing everything they can to help families in need.

"What we’re trying to do, is go out to all the communities in the state, knowing that this is a very large disaster and provide our assistance locally as best as we can,” explained Elizabeth McNeil, employee of FEMA External Affairs.

FEMA staffers could not discuss why the Mervilus family did not receive more housing assistance prior to Sunday, but tells FOX 4 their mission is to make sure a home is "safe, sanitary and habitable."

Nevertheless, Mervilus will continue to ask for more.

“We really need the government to look into our situation and do something…. Do something.”

FEMA says it is imperative for families in need to stay in touch with them. If you or someone you know, is in need of Irma-assistance visit or call 1-800-621-3362.