FEMA tours flood-affected counties in central Indiana
Nearly two weeks after the floodwaters swept through Kokomo, the damage reports are still coming in.
Thursday, Federal Emergency Management Agency teams were in town assessing the damage - a sign money could soon be on the way. Eyewitness News rode along with the team for an up-close look at the process.
As the FEMA teams make their ways across Kokomo and Howard County, we're learning the number of homes affected by the flood is growing, tripling from the initial 100 homes affected early on to the now more than 350. The water lines on many of the houses don't even begin to tell the story of how bad things really are.
"It's a long road to recovery, that's for sure," said Abby Workman, whose home was flooded nearly two weeks ago.
Workman is slowly digging her way down that road.
"The little green spots there...it's already started molding," she said.
"We're having to rip out all of the walls. They're plaster, so I can't just cut them at four feet and replace the bottom half like I could if they were drywall. With plaster, it's all gotta come down," said Workman.
Laurie Smith Kuypers is part of the FEMA team making a list and checking it twice. It's a tedious process looking for what's damaged, not what's nice.
"The basement is flooded up to the rafters. Is the floor affected? Is the electric, the mechanical items such as the furnace and the water heater? So, that's what we look for," said Kuypers.
"The governor makes the determination of what type of assistance they might qualify for, if it's beyond the capabilities of the state or local communities to recover," said Dick Gifford, FEMA Public Affairs.
"We're not going to know until we really know overall how many destroyed we got, how many major damage we got. We should know that in maybe three days, four days," said Larry Smith, Howard County Emergency Management Agency.
None of that can come soon enough for Workman.
"It's a bit overwhelming. It's going to take me a while before I have it move-in ready, before I can even come back," said Workman.
So, as this clean-up continues, so does the waiting game - waiting, hoping for that all-important emergency declaration - the one that's going to send a flood of money into this community so these families can truly start over.
If you live in Howard, Tipton, Madison or Wabash counties, were affected by the flood two weeks ago and would like a visit from FEMA, you can call your local emergency management agency.