FEMA Evaluates Wayne, Tornado Damage - NE Requests Federal Help

(WAYNE, NE) Cleanup has been going on for weeks now in Wayne, Nebraska but now, nearly a month after the tornado ravaged the city's industrial park and a few rural homes there, Federal and State Emergency Management Agencies are assessing the damage.

"What we need is a just an idea of what your costs are what your damages were so that we can request a federal declaration from FEMA."
It sounds so simple but if you've been to Wayne, Nebraska, since the EF4 tornado ripped through parts of the city, you know it's not simple at all.
The state needs rough estimates on the amount of trucks and payloaders used, the hours county workers put in for cleanup, the amount of damage to county buildings and torn-up gravel roads, even a rough estimate on how many signs were lost in the disaster.
Mike Cappannari, the External Affairs Officer for FEMA says it's still too early to tell how the damage will add up.
"I'm just loath to say anything to definitively just because the damage assessments are still ongoing. I think that we'll have a better idea once they're completed by the end of the week," said Mike Cappannari, the External Affairs Officer for FEMA.
Once the numbers are calculated the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency will submit a federal disaster declaration and FEMA will then decide if the state will get government assistance but in order to get that help the state must have damage totaling more than $2.5 million.
"But there are other factors that are taken into consideration too if there is a disaster declaration that's requested. Other factors such as concentration of damage and assistance that can be provided by other federal agencies," said Cappannari.
Thurston, Wayne and Dixon we're affected by the tornado but 6 other counties had natural disasters of their own the same week - October 2nd through the 6th including flooding and heavy snow. All 9 counties will be included in the states disaster declaration.
And although Cappannari can't say whether the declaration will prove to be successful he says the state and Counties like Wayne are following the appropriate steps.
"Initially when there's a response to a disaster, a natural disaster or man-made disaster all response is local and once the capability to respond is beyond the capacity of the local officials they'll then contact the state for assistance," he said.
And in this case the state is now asking for Federal help and it could take months before anyone knows if FEMA will step in.