Four teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are surveying the damage in southern Indiana Tuesday from last Friday’s devastating tornadoes.
This is the first step in the process for Governor Mitch Daniels to ask for federal financial assistance.
"We're not a looking for a numeric value,” said Gene Romano with FEMA. “We're not actually just counting the damaged homes. We're trying to talk to residents and local officials to get a sense of the impact to the total community.”
He said FEMA has been in constant contact with state and local officials since Friday's storms. Incident response teams have been in affected areas since Saturday. As of Tuesday, approximately 50 FEMA officials were deployed to Indiana.
Romano said homeowners do not have to be present as FEMA teams sweep the areas. The assessment process includes talking to local businesses, neighbors and community organizations to get an idea of the widespread damage and the overall impact.
"All the data that will be collected over the next couple of days by the four teams will be turned over to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security,” said Romano. “They'll review the data, submit it to the governor's office and the governor will make the decision if it's beyond state and local capability. Then, he would make a formal request to the president for a major disaster declaration.”
Romano said they cross-reference what they see on the ground with damage reports people submit online.
For more information about applying for FEMA assistance, visit their website.