A disaster emergency was declared in 34 counties in our area by Governor Daniels. This declaration is a step toward requesting and hopefully receiving federal aid.
Many counties, including Posey, Vanderburgh and Gibson, have damaged roads, downed power lines and ruined property due to the recent flooding which has pummeled Southwestern Indiana since late April. Counties with these damages have been included in the declaration, with more counties possibly being added.
It has been a treacherous month with the rain and flooding not letting up causing some of the worst flooding in history. This last month has been trying, but our community has stayed strong and has united to overcome the challenges the recent weather has brought.
One man, who has led the united front and who has worked tirelessly to help flood victims by providing shelter and food is Posey County Red Cross Disaster Chairman Jerry Kuykendall. He has virtually not left the Church of Nazarene in Point Township and has made a very bad situation, manageable with his dedication to Posey County residents.
The Evansville Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Gibson Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Tri-state Food Bank have continued to serve flood victims throughout this flooding. Without their help many would not have had the food and shelter they have required.
Many residents are finally beginning to move back into their homes, but that process brings on a new set of challenges. How do I know if I can move back into my home? How do I report damage? What are the first steps to cleaning up my home? Is the water safe?
Safety, patience and cooperation are all going to be required as residents continue to dig out from this disaster. It will at times be difficult, lives have been uprooted, homes and crops ruined. But with careful steps, we can move past this flooding.
Dealing with this flood in an efficient and effective manner has taken coordination and cooperation from state agencies to volunteers to our Indiana National Guard.
Our Indiana National Guard has been vital in helping our community prepare and deal with the floods by forming levies to stop the onset of water.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security played a key role in helping create solutions to get people the resources they have needed to deal with this flood.
The Posey County Emergency Management Association (EMA) team's involvement, under EMA Director Larry Robb, the Vanderburgh EMA team, under EMA Director Sherman Greer and the Gibson EMA team under EMA Director Terry Hedges, was essential to helping our community stay informed and knowledgeable about what was happening and whether evacuations were called for.
Collaboration has been a key element in dealing with this disaster. Disasters do not know jurisdictions, boundaries or political affiliation so we must be willing to adapt and have systems in place to foster unity across multiple agencies and government departments.
There are many people working to alleviate pain caused by this flooding and to provide information.
It will take many months of hard work until life resumes its normal pace and our community is back to its normal operations. We are moving in the right direction and I feel inspired by how our community has come together to help those in need.
I urge you to contact me or the below agencies if you need assistance. I will do my best to help, to put you in contact with the right people and to give you useful correct information.
Tips upon returning to a flooded home (provided by the Ind. Dept. of Homeland Security):
· Inspect foundation for cracks or other damage, which could render the building uninhabitable
· Where solid shoes - cuts to the feet are the most common injury
· Use battery powered lights when inspecting buildings which prevents potential fire hazards
· Check for gas leaks and electrical system damage
· Watch out for animals they may have come in during the flooding
· Take picture of the damage- inside and outside- for insurance claims
· Throw away all food that came into contact with flood waters. (food contaminated by this water can cause severe infections)
· Ensure drinking water is pure: to check go to: www.in.gov/dhs/files/water_treatment.pdf
· Pump out flooded basements gradually, about 1/3 a day. This avoids structural damage. If all water is removed in short period of time,
Indiana Department of Homeland Security
Emergency Management Association
Posey County: Larry Robb, Director
Gibson County: Terry Hedges, Director
Vanderburgh County: Sherman G. Greer, Director
American Red Cross:
American Red Cross: Southwestern Indiana Chapter
American Red Cross: Posey County
American Red Cross: Gibson County
Indiana Department of Agriculture:
Live Stock Loss: 317-227-0300
USDA Farm Service Agency: 317-290-3030
Department of Workforce Development:
Disaster Unemployment Insurance
US Small Business Administration
SBA Disaster Loans