OVIEDO, Fla. – Angela Zwarycz stood outside the Oviedo Cultural Center on Center Lake Lane Thursday with her hands full of forms. Zwarycz had just applied for help from FEMA at a mobile registration intake center after her home flooded following Hurricane Ian.
“I think a lot of people feel alone. I feel alone,” said Zwarycz. “Just someone talking to you. Someone just asking how you are, you know?”
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Zwarycz wiped away tears while describing what she’s been through in the days following the storm. She told News 6 she evacuated this weekend when floodwaters rushed inside her home on Lake Harney in Geneva.
‘Once the water started coming in, I was by myself with my dog. I just got in the kayak and started paddling towards my car in the dark with a flashlight in my mouth, holding it, because I was so scared,” she said.
Zwarycz lost almost everything. Since the storm, she’s gone back by boat to see the damage for herself. She told News 6 she has no insurance.
“The homeowners wouldn’t take it because I need a new roof,” said Zwarycz. “That wouldn’t help with flooding anyways.”
Zwarycz said help from FEMA is all she has.
“Job loss, loss of income, if you have a private business at your home, damage to your home. These are all things that may be eligible for assistance,” said Alan Harris with Emergency Management in Seminole County.
Seminole County is urging people to apply after contacting their insurance first. They said people should register even if they have received disaster assistance from FEMA before.
“We had this program during Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Irma, and it helped place a lot of individuals in extended stay hotels,” said Harris.
FEMA representatives will be available to assist under and uninsured clients applying for assistance at the following locations in Seminole County:
- Friday, Oct. 7 - 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Winter Springs Civic Center, 400 N Edgemon Avenue, Winter Springs
- Sunday, Oct. 9 - 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Westmonte Park, 624 Bills Lane, Altamonte Springs
- Sunday, October 9 - 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Midway Park, 2045 Hurston Ave, Sanford
- Monday, October 10 - 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Harvest Time International, 225 Harvest Time Drive, Sanford
You can also apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance by phone or online.
FEMA Press Secretary Jeremy M. Edwards said in a statement any disaster survivor, regardless of citizenship status, is entitled to apply for relief programs.
To be eligible for any FEMA Individual Assistance program, you must apply to FEMA. There are three ways to apply:
- Download the FEMA App for mobile devices
- Call toll-free 800-621-3362 (FEMA)
For an accessible video on how to apply for assistance go to, FEMA’s YouTube page.