INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been a little more than a week since Indiana Task Force 1 was deployed to Kentucky.
Crews left Indiana on July 28 to help with search and rescue efforts in parts of the state after heavy rain and devastating floods.
Right now, there’s no set return date for the team. In a Twitter update on Friday, crews were staged and standing by as more rain was predicted to hit the eastern part of the area.
“It’s very unfortunate,” said Task Force Leader Jay Settergren. “We’re kind of staged right now, there’s a bunch of severe weather moving through.”
Depending on the amount of rain and when it ends, Settergren said it is possible the task force will return home sometime afterward, which he said could last into tomorrow or early Sunday.
During a Zoom call with FOX59, Settergren said crews have been busy since arriving in the area, starting with search efforts that Friday morning.
“We had our crews out, along with the locals, running some targeted searches at the beginning, which means we had information to believe somebody would be in the area,” he said.
Over the weekend, Settergren said the scope transitioned to wide area searches, making sure people were accounted for and helping those who were either left behind or returned to the area.
Settergren noted some of the challenges during their efforts, like travel and communication.
“There’s some travel distance between where we’re at and moving forward to the sites, they’re very remote and hard to get to,” he said. “The hardest thing is just getting around right now, and the limited communications are very difficult. They have no power, no phones, no nothing really. Everything is down right now, especially in those affected areas in the eastern counties.”
Meanwhile, in Indiana, local agencies are stepping in to play a role in bringing relief.
Marcie Luhigo, executive director for Midwest, said they’re in the process of sending family food boxes within the coming days, along with another shipment of water.
“The family food boxes can contain easily prepared and shelf-stable options that’ll provide for a family and help supplement their needs for about a week,” she said. “We also provide bottled water because clean water can be such a huge need right after a disaster.”
President and CEO of Gleaners John Elliott said they work with in part with Feeding America’s disaster response team, where requests are divided among its partner agencies.
While their role is limited to semi trucks of food and drinks in the Kentucky response, Elliott said they’ve also had larger roles in responding to other instances, like hurricanes in Texas and Florida.
“Gleaners has always played a disproportionate role,” he said. “I think part of it is that very generous Hoosier spirit that we do step up, and we do volunteer to help our neighbors.”
Both agencies have ways for Hoosiers to help those directly impacted in Kentucky. You can donate monetarily or through needed items.
At Gleaners, Elliott hopes Hoosiers also consider donating non-food items to the agency, like diapers, cleaning supplies and toiletries, which are also used for disaster response.
“That’s the sort of thing that it’s easier if you have it on hand versus starting to go look for it once the disaster hits,” Elliott said.