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Porter County flooding

Floodwaters swamped cars, a building and part of a field in January 2018 in southern Porter County.

Bob Kasarda, The Times

While the Region waits to see if federal disaster relief will come as a result of recent flooding, state and other help has already arrived.

One-stop disaster assistance centers are open in DeMotte and Lake Station, according to Porter County Emergency Management Director Lance Bella. No Porter County location is planned.

The two nearest sites are at DeMotte Town Hall, 112 Carnation St., and Polk Elementary School, 3460 Vermillion St., Lake Station.

The DeMotte site is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Lake Station is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The sites, which opened Monday, include representatives from the American Red Cross and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster offering basic necessities of food, drinking water, clothing and other essentials, Bella said.

Several state agencies also have representatives there to provide assistance and answers questions, he said.

Services available include housing support, social services, applications for unemployment insurance, public health information, transportation assistance and agricultural assistance.

The sites are not taking applications for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Bella said.

Roads closed

Eleven roads remained closed in Porter County due to flooding, primarily in the area of the Kankakee River to the south, Bella said.

"While the magnitude of the flooding and its impact on local residents is completely overwhelming, it is inspiring to see them not only worried about their own property and well-being, but that of their neighbors," said Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South.

Representatives from the state will be visiting the area later this week to help build the case for federal disaster relief, Bella said. That step is needed in order for the president to consider whether to declare a disaster, which would free up federal assistance.

The Porter County Board of Commissioners got the ball rolling last week by declaring an emergency.

Through a series of executive orders, Gov. Eric Holcomb has declared an emergency for 26 counties, adding Porter and Newton to the list March 2.

The rains resulted in "numerous roadways being closed due to damage/flooding, numerous homes and businesses being damaged, levy breaches/damage, two bridges being damaged and numerous areas inundated with debris," according to Porter County's declaration.


Porter/LaPorte county reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.