Northeast Nebraskans struggling to receive disaster aid in tornado cleanup efforts
Those who have lived through a tornado say it's unbelievable how quickly a home can be wrecked.
Especially when you've lived in that home for more than forty years.
"You just believe that it didn't hit your house. Like I said, what I thought I heard was other debris hitting the house. Then you see blue sky and you realize that something did happen," Barbara Stanton, Pender, NE said.
Barbara was raised on this plot of land, and she and her husband want nothing more than to be back home. But they're temporarily living in an apartment, because their home was badly damaged in the devastating tornadoes on June 16th.
Though it's been a month since the storms, the Stantons, like many other families, are still waiting to even begin the rebuilding process at their family homes.
"You wait for somebody with answers, who waits for somebody else with answers. It's just... you're in limbo," Barbara Stanton said.
Jodie Fawl with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency says they're doing all they can to help as the insurance companies work through an avalanche of paperwork.
NEMA typically handles damage to public infrastructure. Fawl says NEMA has estimated that 115 homes were either destroyed or majorly damaged, so they're doing what they can to help on personal properties, too.
"There was a lot of damage, so it was definitely worth asking for assistance," Fawl said.
Fawl admits it's hard to predict just how much the Federal Government will step in on assisting property owners.
As they wait for the relief funds, the Stantons and several others are temporarily living in apartments, waiting out the aftermath of the storm.
"Well we've got to rebuild it or get it fixed, somehow," Joe Stanton of Pender, Nebraska said.
And when it's going to happen?
"I have no idea," Stanton said.
Fawl says NEMA, like every other disaster relief agency with access to those affected in Northeast Nebraska, is working as hard as possible to get those families back home.
"Hopefully, the insurance companies are helping the people that they can help. Of course, we're working with local emergency managers to make sure that the needs of their communities are being met as far as we can help," Fawl said.