PEKIN, IN (WAVE) - Almost three months have passed since a tornado devastated southern Indiana, including the towns of Pekin and Daisy Hill in Washington County. The rebuilding process continues, but the healing has a long way to go.
Melissa Burton with the Washington County Sheriff's Office said from her standpoint they've come a long way, but a long road is still ahead.
"It looks like a war zone over here," said Burton, coordinator of the Disaster Relief Center. "However it looks ten times better than what it did."
What Burton was referring to the Jordan Lake and Robbs Lane area of Pekin. It is the area is where Town Marshal Jeff Thomas first spotted the tornado on March 2 and frantically began driving around trying to warn residents. In addition to Pekin and Daisy Hill, the tornado tore destruction over an 18 mile stretch of southern Indiana. Signs of healing can be seen in the form of rebuilding, but there are still scars along the landscape. Those scares remind us of the storm that not only took people's homes, but the lives of a family of five in the rural town.
Now the initial danger has passed, but Burton said there is still hardship for those affected, in the form of trying to get much needed help to rebuild their homes and lives.
"Trying to deal with FEMA, getting denied and then going to the next step, because a lot of people were under insured or with no insurance," said Burton.
The Long Term Recovery Office in Pekin remains open for those who need help in filing or re-filing insurance and FEMA paperwork. It's a process that has been a long and painstaking one for many, some of which feel they're now running out of time. In the meantime, the rebuilding continues on the physical homes and business. However, most of the residents remain strong.
Seventy to eighty percent of the original homes damaged remain in need of repair or replacement. Town officials believe it could be another six to eight months before a lot of the signs of devastation are gone. But the human scars will be there long after.
Anyone needing assistance in filing or re-filing insurance or FEMA paperwork can go to the Long Term Recovery Office behind the Pekin Town Hall or call them for help at (812) 967-6116.
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