Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana


March 7, 2012

Henryville: Taking the next steps

-- — Five days after a tornado blew her house down, Cindy Cain

was back in what used to be her yard, searching for anything she could

salvage from a pile of debris.

Cain is eager to get back to where she’s lived for 18 years, but her

prospects for doing seem grim. With no homeowner’s insurance, Cain has no way to pay to rebuild her house or even clear the debris from her yard.

And Tuesday, she found out there’s no guarantee she’ll get help from the federal government. She’s hoping a local church, where donations have been pouring in, will be able to come through on a promise to build her a new house.

“It’s my own fault,” said Cain, sounding exhausted. “I couldn’t afford to

pay my bills and keep up insurance on my house. I had to let mine go.”

Hundreds of residents in the small Southern Indiana town devastated by

last Friday’s deadly storms are in the same leaking boat. Local and state officials estimate at least 40 percent of Henryville residents had no insurance on their homes when two tornadoes struck Friday afternoon.


Arvin Copeland, who escorted Federal Emergency Management Agency officials through the wreckage Tuesday, thinks the number of uninsured is much larger.

“We’ve been talking to dozens of people and I suspect about only 20

percent were insured,” said Copeland, who is the director of disaster and recovery services for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Copeland admits his estimate of the uninsured may be high, but he’s

fearful of underestimating the damage and destruction wrought by the

deadly tornadoes that claimed 13 lives in Indiana, with one coming in


Unless Copeland puts together a convincing set of numbers that meet a

threshold for federal assistance, the people of Henryville — and those in five counties hit hard by the storm — won’t be eligible for FEMA


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