FEMA inspectors back in Indiana this week

Published: .
Updated: .

Inspectors with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in Howard County and six other Indiana counties assessing tornado damage.

Last week, FEMA rejected the state's request for disaster assistance following the Nov. 17 tornadoes, saying the damage wasn't severe enough that it exceeded state and local resources.

Specifically, the state hoped for individual assistance in the form of grants and low-interest loans for residents and businesses. The state disagreed with FEMA's decision, immediately appealing it.

"We have a lot of local agencies helping out with recovery, but we feel we need assistance from the federal government," said John Erickson, Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

"I'm praying they reconsider. It's been too rough and so much damage," said resident Brandy Capoun.

Capoun lives on a street littered with blue tarp and dumpsters. The house across the street is gone and hers is sealed in plastic, with several windows boarded up.

She worries insurance won't cover enough and worries about those who lost everything.

"Kokomo, as a city, has banded together to help each other, but there's only so much a city can do to help itself when so much damaged so many without homes," Capoun said.

Sandy Jasmund with FEMA joined state and local officials Monday to look at and assess damage not seen during previous inspections.

Jasmund said they would be driving thru various areas "not just looking at individual houses but the concentration of damage."

She said there were three FEMA teams in the state with a total of 12 inspectors. They are also traveling to Boone, Grant, Howard, Davies, Fountain and Tippecanoe counties.

Jasmund says FEMA's decision will be based on "the concentration of damage, the trauma to the community, if there are a lot of volunteer organizations helping people and insurance levels, too."

It isn't known how long the assessment will take.

"We'll be here as long as necessary to do a thorough job," Jasmund said.

Capoun said, with Christmas coming up, she's trying to stay positive and hopes FEMA comes through.