The remnants of the EF3 tornado that ripped through Ripley County, particularly the Holton and Dabney areas on Friday, March 2, are being picked up. People are slowly getting their lives back in order with the assistance of agencies who have stepped up to offer their help.
Today will be the third day that the Ripley County Emergency Management Agency has had their incident command vehicle on site at the Holton Community Center particulary for those who need to complete the on-line FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) application. They will be in place from 1-7 p.m. at the center on Versailles Street in Holton.
Patrick Rose, local EMA director, urges those with loss to come to the site and get registered.
Since Governor Mitch Daniels has heard from President Barack Obama that he has approved federal assistance for six Indiana counties, Ripley being one of them, one FEMA representative told the Osgood Journal they are ready to assist those in need. It's not an immediate process, but extremely important for people to get their information to FEMA representatives. If you cannot get to the site in Holton today, you can go online at www.fema.gov/assistance or call 1-800-621-FEMA. The toll free number is available 24 hours a day.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster, according to information from the governor's office.
If someone approaches you and says they are with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA), or any other governmental agency, ask to see their agency identification. All personnel have a photo I.D. If you don't believe someone is who they say they are contact your local law enforcement immediately.
Holton has moved into recovery mode, which means in a few days the Southeastern Indiana Red Cross service will move out, the shelter at the Holton Community Building will have limited hours this week for meals being served, and the Holton Fire Hall will do the same.
People needing assistance for food, cleaning supplies, or whatever, are encouraged to call the Holton Fire Hall at 689-7241 to find out their hours this week. Also, you can call the community center at 689-0693 to find out their hours. They will have evening meals through Wednesday, according to Angi Farrell, town council member, who has been working in the food service area.
Your property may need to be reassessed after the storm damage. Shawna Bushhorn, county assessor, was on the scene many days throughout the week, but if you didn't get information to her, you need to go to the assessor's office on the first floor of the courthouse in Versailles or call 689-5656.
The Arc of Indiana is offering immediate referral services and assistance to families of a loved one with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been impacted by the tornadoes. Families should call 317-224-0276.
For updated information about the disaster and now recovery situation at Holton is progressing you can go online at firstname.lastname@example.org.