Flood damage assessments expand to three more Indiana counties

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After touring flood-damaged sites in Kokomo Thursday, local, state and federal officials will continue doing damage assessments there and expand their activity to Huntington, Grant and Tippecanoe Counties.

They've already completed evaluations in Madison and Wabash Counties, and expect to complete Howard and Tipton Friday.

Homes and businesses are being assessed to evaluate damage caused by severe weather and flooding that began April 17.

Initially it was believed that around 100 homes had flood damage in Kokomo, but since the assessments began, officials have determined that over 350 homes were affected. The water lines only tell part of the story: once the water recedes, mold is left behind. Some homes will have to be gutted or rebuilt.

Laurie Smith Kuypers is part of the FEMA team in Indiana this week. She explained what her team looks for.

"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.

Their determination will affect how much financial assistance the state and counties receive from the federal government.

"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.

Teams will include representatives from those counties, Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Based on citizen reports and damage gathered by local and state emergency management professionals, these teams are focusing on the seven counties.

"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

Once the reports are complete, they'll be sent to Governor Mike Pence's office. If eligibility requirements have been met, the governor will officially request federal assistance to FEMA or the SBA, which will review the request and either grant or deny it.

IDHS is still encouraging anyone who has not yet reported damage to please do so today.

How to report damage

Hoosiers who sustained damage caused by severe weather and flooding that began April 17 can report online. In the middle of the page under "Featured Topics," click on "Report Damage from Severe Storms and Flooding - Starting April 17 and continuing."

For questions, contact your county emergency management agency. Local agency's contact information is available here.

If you know someone who has flood damage but lacks internet access, help them out if you can. Web access is also available at many libraries, religious institutions, community centers or other public facilities. If none of those options are available, individuals may also contact their county emergency management agency to report damage.