Communications Center Set-Up For Ike Victims

As the recovery from Ike begins, one of the big challenges is helping residents who have no way of getting the FEMA assistance process started. To address that, Congressman Nick Lampson has set-up a temporary communication center near Ellington Field. It’s a place where displaced residents like Barbara Biggs of Galveston can start the recovery process.

“So far I don’t know. I’m struggling with this. If I can get registered, I’m happy.”

Biggs lives in Galveston and has four feet of water in her house. She’s sitting in front of a laptop at the American Legion building along Highway 3 across from Ellington Field.

“I look at it this way; God has been good to me. I’m alive. It’s just a house. Yes, I’ll get through it.”

Biggs and hundreds of others are using the temporary communications center, computers and phones set-up to assist in the recovery. Rob Noll keeps the operation on-line.

“Right now, we’re running over 200. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-225 computers and 225 phones and they’re all done by satellite. We’re basically self-sufficient. So the good news is we don’t take any resources from anything else as well when we come to an area.”

Congressman Nick Lampson says residents whose homes have been destroyed or damaged can use the center to speed-up the FEMA assistance process.

“They need to come here and know that they’re going to file a claim with FEMA, either for the assistance that they need or the damage that’s been done to their property. They’re not going to get a check. They’re not going to get food, water or ice at this location. This is only a communications center where we have computers set-up to allow people to contact FEMA as an alternative to the use of a telephone, which is very, very slow right now.”

Marnita Hinton lives in Houston and has roof and water damage. She says the process is actually pretty simple.

“All people have to do is just read and just take the time-out and read. Calm yourself down and read because when I first came in I was just nervous and scared and everything but after I set here and this guy was talking to me I was just calming myself down. It’s okay. It’s good.”

The center is expected to be open the next several days.