‘We need help bad’: Residents impacted by T.S. Nicole urge for individual assistance from FEMA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Residents and city leaders are calling on the federal government to declare Tropical Storm Nicole a disaster.

It’s been about a week since Nicole flooded neighbors out of their homes and left others with more damage than they could have imagined.

Nicole hasn’t been declared a “disaster” yet.

FEMA is assisting the Florida Division of Emergency Management to assess the extent of Tropical Storm Nicole and its impact on individuals and public facilities.


Sharonda Wilson lives along the Trout River and is one of many seeking individual assistance.

“We need help,” said Wilson. “We need help bad.”

Wilson said she hopes Nicole is declared a disaster, so she and other people impacted can receive the help they need.

“It’s causing us astronomical damage and astronomical problems, and changes in our life,” said Wilson.

She said she’s choosing to be strong.

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“I know that God did not put this on me, because he felt like I couldn’t handle it ,” Wilson said. “I have been prepared mentally and physically for disaster, and this is definitely one.”

Just minutes away, you may remember Eula Copeland’s home was severely damaged after a neighboring tree crashed onto her home.

She is also longing for financial help from FEMA.

“They have to wait on the governor and the president,” Copeland said. “So I still have to wait.”

In the impacted areas, we met a team from the American Red Cross assessing damage on the Northside.

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Markita Jacobson, with the American Red Cross, is from Minnesota. She was deployed to Florida after Tropical Storm Nicole.

“Our role here is damage assessment,” said Jacobson. “So we go out in the neighborhoods, and we assess what we see. Then we enter the data into our phones and upload it to the Red Cross.”

Jan Bowling is also with the American Red Cross and is from Ohio.

“I just came down here to show compassion and to do whatever I can to make them feel that somebody does care,” said Bowling. “This is my first deployment. I just want to help and be kind.”

Action News Jax spoke with a FEMA official Monday who said the state requires a preliminary damage assessment” before a declaration can be made by FEMA.

“Once all that data and information is gathered with the state and they process that and it goes to FEMA makes that termination of the declaration,” said Alberto Pillot with FEMA.

Once PDAs are complete and the State determines that the damage exceeds their resources, the Governor may submit a declaration request to the President through FEMA.

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On Tuesday night in St. Johns County, leaders said they will be drafting letters to lawmakers to ask them to advocate for help, like they received from Ian.

Survivors of Ian can access a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center near them.

St. Johns County, a center is located at Wind Mitigation Building, 3111 Agricultural Center Dr., St. Augustine, FL 32092.

It is not necessary to visit a center to apply for FEMA assistance. Survivors can go online to disasterassistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. The line is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

According to FEMA, survivors who sustained damage from Hurricane Nicole should contact their insurance company, take pictures of the damage, begin clean up, and save receipts.

Residents and Businesses should also:

  • Contact their insurance company.
  • Inform the county emergency management agency of damage.
  • Continue to clean up.
  • Keep repair receipts and document damage whenever possible, especially for insurance purposes

CLICK HERE for updated response and recovery information.

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