FEMA's Sessum: 'We're still here'

Howell Dennis
Managing Editor
Crowley Post-Signal

FEMA’S Peter Sessum wants to remind the residents of Acadia Parish that they are still working out of the Wells Fargo building on North Parkerson Avenue and that they are still here to answer questions and assist in anyway they can.
“We’ve seen the number of people that come by decrease to a few people a day but what we want is to answer questions regarding any claims that are filed,” he said. “We want people to receive everything they are deserving of following such a major flood.”
Sessum also wanted to get the word out that just because a FEMA claim has been denied that people shouldn’t just give up. He stated that people should become more educated to the process and remember one word.
“Appeal, appeal, appeal,” he said. “Go back and look over your initial clams, some times a claim is dismissed simply because people got a number wrong when writing down their social security numbers. Another common mistake made by those who file is a person having a home they lived in with their parents and not having their name placed on the title after they died. And even if you do have flood insurance through another agency, he suggested that it should not deter people from visiting their office to see if they could help with anything they can provide.”
The deadline for FEMA claims is Oct. 13.
Sessum spent Tuesday traveling with Joe Anderson, a fellow FEMA employee who was in Crowley to emphasize the importance of residents buying flood insurance. Anderson didn’t care too much for the words used to describe last month’s disaster.
“People don’t understand that when it’s referred to as a ‘500-year flood’ it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to happen again for another 500 years,” he said. “It’s mathematics. For example, if a storm is called a 100-year flood it means that there is a one percent chance of it happening in any given year.”
Anderson was handing out literature on FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program but said that even if residents don’t buy from his agency, it is simply imperative that people, especially in coastal areas, buy some.
“There were some homes and businesses that received water damage that weren’t located in flood zones,” said Sessum. “The proximity of this area to the coast not only makes it prone to hurricanes but storms like the one you saw last month. There were people who didn’t think there was any flood danger who ended up having to spend money.”
In other FEMA related news, Crowley Chief of Police Jimmy Broussard reported that some FEMA workers beginning to be mistaken for contractors. And in recent weeks people have been warned to take a close look at at contractors to make sure they aren’t con artists.
“We’ve been run off of the property of people we are trying to help because they thought we were contractors,” said FEMA worker Imanuel Nunez.

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