LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Hurricane Ian has left a devastating wake, but the damage continues.

With more rain expected and insufficient resources for repairs, homeowners are desperate to cover damaged roofs and protect what they can.

FEMA has directed the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to assist homeowners eligible for temporary roof repairs through Operation Blue Roof. program.

ABC Action News met with USACE in Harlem Heights in Lee County as they ramp up their mission.

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The home is among a growing list of 21,000 requests coming to the USACE as the damage from Hurricane Ian becomes clearer.


“They’re actually putting roofs on faster than any other storm,” said Andrew Kornacki of the USACE.

Kornacki said the material is more resilient than a regular blue tarp.

USACE explains the difference between Operation Blue Roof material and tarp

“The material is fiber-reinforced plastic, designed to last at least 30 days, UV-protected, waterproof and water-resistant,” said Kornacki.

It’s also free.

US Army Corps of Engineers – Avoid Blue Roof Scams

By the end of this weekend, Kornacki said, with the help of contractors and quality assurance representatives brought in to make sure the job is done right, they will be at “full capacity,” meaning work on up to 600 homes a day.

“Help is coming,” Kornacki said.

Irma Reyes said it is extremely necessary.

“It’s not just one person, it’s everybody who has everything that belongs to them on the side,” she said. “There are so many places that are devastated by what just happened.”

Reyes stayed behind with her daughter, whose roof is now protected.

'Help is on the way': US Army Corps of Engineers ramps up blue roof program


“Our house was in the back and it was completely flooded, four feet of water inside. So everything had to be thrown away,” Reyes said.

She said she’s grateful to help people who come to Lee County from all over the state and country.

“People from all over do so much for our area and many other areas. And it’s touching,” she said. “Everyone’s kindness.”

Blue roofs are usually activated within 2-3 hours.

“Knowing that these people are now protected from water entering their home is another step toward recovery,” Kornacki said.

The initial registration period for homeowners in Lee and Charlotte counties ends on October 23rd.

Renting real estate for vacation is not suitable.

To register, visit blueroof.us

FEMA: Beware of fraud and scams

FEMA encourages survivors and business owners to be vigilant about the following common post-disaster fraud practices:

Housing inspectors claim to represent FEMA

  • Be careful if someone asks for your nine-digit registration number. A FEMA inspector will never request this information. They already have it on record.
  • Do not give your banking information to anyone. FEMA inspectors never ask for bank or other personal information, such as a social security number.
  • Ask the person to show you their ID badge. Federal employees always wear an official government badge to identify themselves.

False offers of local or federal aid

  • Do not trust anyone who asks for money. Federal and local disaster relief officials do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and US Small Business Administration officials never charge applicants for disaster assistance, background checks, or application assistance.
  • Don’t believe anyone who promises a disaster grant and asks for large cash deposits or full upfront payments.

Fraudulent building contractors

  • Use licensed or vetted local contractors with solid references.
  • To find licensed certified contractors, check the Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • Don’t pay more than half of the repair cost in advance.
  • Require contractors to describe in writing the work to be performed, with warranties.

If you suspect fraud, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1866-720-5721.

Anyone who suspects price gouging can report it to the Florida Attorney General’s Office using No scam app [myfloridalegal.com]visiting MyFloridaLegal.com [myfloridalegal.com] or by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM. The Attorney General Moody’s No Scam app can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android devices through the app store by searching for No Scam.