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How FEMA met the needs of NorCal residents affected by fire




SONOMA, CA - OCTOBER 14: A structure burns in the early morning hours on October 14, 2017 in Sonoma, California. At least 32 people are confirmed dead with hundreds still missing. Officials expect the death toll to rise, and now estimate that 5,700 structures have been destroyed. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SONOMA, CA - OCTOBER 14: A structure burns in the early morning hours on October 14, 2017 in Sonoma, California. At least 32 people are confirmed dead with hundreds still missing. Officials expect the death toll to rise, and now estimate that 5,700 structures have been destroyed. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew/Getty Images

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When Southern California's fires subside, recovery will take place, bringing with it the challenge of finding housing for those who've lost their homes. The hurdles that many will face could be similar to those experienced by people residing in Sonoma, Napa and Yuba Counties when fires devastated that region in October. 

California Governor Jerry Brown has already declared a state of emergency in LA and Ventura Counties — much like he did up north following the wine country fires. That prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get involved.

FEMA external affairs officer Victor Inge says relief efforts in Northern California in October were a massive undertaking:

It was a huge challenge. We have US citizens — Californians who were forced from their homes. People are upset. They're in shock. And what we try and do is bring some humanity to what some may feel is a bureaucratic government agency. We're not; we're people. 

The main thing is to try to meet the disaster survivor and have them understand even though they've lost belongings, things can be replaced but lives can't. 

Press the blue play button to hear the full interview about FEMA's work in California following the wine country fires.