Hurricane Victims Relying on FEMA

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It has been a week since Hurricane Dennis pummeled the Florida Panhandle with surprisingly high storm surge.

Residents are making inroads in their cleanup efforts. Cleaning up the muck left behind from Dennis is a full-time job.

While pictures can show you how homes were damaged, they can’t convey the smell from the raw sewage that washed through everything. Piles of debris littered the county, and as residents started to clean up, they are also starting to look for help.

This FEMA center saw 70 applicants Monday, its first full day open.

Joanna Cushing is looking for help. The home she and her terminally ill husband were renting was devastated, and she had to move immediately.

Joanna says, "It concerns me that they referred us to a loan. I mean, obviously we aren't going to be able to qualify for a loan. My husband is a hospice patient."

This couple was also flooded.

Howard Vaughn, a FEMA representative, says, "They’ve lost all of their clothing and their television and everything. I’ve seen where this mold grows so fast that it’s very deadly."

The storm surge damaged hundreds of homes in the Big Bend.

Geni Akridge hopes FEMA will pay to raise her flooded trailer so it won’t get wet in another storm.

Geni says, “Almost a dream, a bad dream I guess. Our little village is gone."

The only solace for the folks in the eastern Panhandle is that they know others suffered more.

FEMA representatives will be meeting with local officials over the next few days to let them know what sort of help is available in their area.