FEMA denies Monroe County citizens, businesses storm damage assistance

A series of storms that occurred in April and May spawned one tornado that hit the west side of Bloomington, demolishing a mobile home park and damaging many properties in the area.

The tornado had winds of 110 miles per hour. Heavy rain from this spring’s storms also caused significant flooding, especially in the Lake Monroe area.

There are two types of assistance FEMA can provide to areas affected by disasters. Public assistance provides emergency funds to public and non-profit organizations.
Monroe County was granted this type of assistance in June for the storm damage.

Individual assistance provides funds to private citizens and businesses. FEMA denied this type of assistance last week.

The City of Bloomington reported losing approximately 150 trees on city property, creating about a year’s worth of work for city tree-removal crews in a matter of days. Several hundred-year-old trees in Seminary Park and many others on the sides of roads and in other parks were lost during the storms.

IU’s campus suffered worse damage than the city, and officials reported losing more than 300 trees to the storm.

While Bloomington and IU will be eligible to receive some of the public assistance funds from FEMA, local residents and businesses will not. Sam Mason Properties, the trailer park that was mostly destroyed during the tornado, has still not been completely cleaned up from the storms that occurred about two months ago.

Ten other counties were also included in a state Department of Homeland Security request for personal assistance. All but two requests were denied. The request was for Decatur, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Harrison, Lawrence, Monroe, Pike, Posey, Clay, Vanderburgh and Vigo counties. Clay and Lawrence counties’ requests are still under consideration.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security filed the request for the 11 counties after the storms. The agency received word that its request was denied last week. The department has not yet determined whether or not to appeal the decision, according to a press release.

Individuals and businesses needing assistance can still contact the Monroe County Emergency Management Agency for help. Any assistance provided by the agency will be on a case-by-case basis.

— Zach Ammerman

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