Some dismayed Indiana tornado aid request rejected


Some people from central Indiana's Howard County say they don't understand how officials could have rejected giving federal aid to help their community rebuild from damage caused by last month's tornadoes.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency this week turned down the assistance request for the Kokomo area, where state officials say about 1,000 homes were destroyed or damaged in the Nov. 17 storm.

The storm tore the roof off the Moore Title and Escrow building. The damage is estimated at $200,000 and it isn't clear yet how much of the repairs insurance will cover, owner Dick Moore told the Kokomo Tribune ( ).

"They don't see what's happened out here from Washington," Moore said. "When you see the devastation, how can they not provide some type of federal aid to help the people that have been affected by this?"

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has 30 days to submit an appeal.

John Erickson, a spokesman for the Indiana agency, said FEMA's review of the Howard County request determined that "the severity and magnitude of the damage was not great enough for federal assistance to be granted."

During the appeal process, the state agency will expand its damage assessment to include other severely affected areas in neighboring counties, Erickson said.

"We want to do that as quickly as we can while also doing as thorough a job as we can," he said. "The more damage we can document, the stronger the case we can make."

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