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Federal funds now available as Biden Administration approves Gov. Beshear’s request for major disaster declaration following flooding

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 7:31 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT/BEATTYVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - On Friday, the Biden Administration approved Governor Andy Beshear’s request for a major disaster declaration following historic flooding in February and March. Kentuckians will now have access to federal assistance to support communities and help recovery. Beshear says this is a rare occurrence.

“This is the worst flooding in the last 12 years and in response the president said he was going to be there for us and in a way that almost never happens so, this is really exciting, it’s going to help a lot of people, it’s a good day,” Gov. Beshear said.

As of Saturday evening, federal funding is now available to help individuals and communities in Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Johnson, Lee, Magoffin, Marion, and Powell Counties.

Assistance for eligible survivors can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as medical and dental expenses.

Judge-Executive Chuck Caudill is asking everyone in his county, to wait a little longer.

“We’ve been working on programs since the flood waters receded and we’re going to continue to work with the Red Cross and FEMA to ensure that we can get everybody back as whole as humanely possible,” Caudill said.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the previously mentioned counties can begin applying for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency by registering online here or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY for the hearing and speech impaired). The toll free numbers operate from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. seven days per week until further notice. The governor’s office asks that you have your social security number, insurance information, damage information, bank information and contact information ready when you apply.

“I thank the president and his team for their quick action to help the people of Kentucky recover from these devastating storms,” Gov. Beshear said. “I visited just weeks ago to see the damage first-hand, and the needs are great. This was some of the worst flooding the state has seen in my lifetime, and it is our job to make sure we help the affected people and businesses get back to their lives and livelihoods.”

The award is the largest to help people displaced by flooding since the floods of May 2010. The state’s 120 counties have reported more than 1,200 instances of damage to infrastructure, debris removal, and emergency measures costing more than $72 million.

Officials in Lee County, are already making preparations.

“We know who the people are, we know what their needs are, we have been working with the Red Cross closely, they know who the people are,” Caudill said.

Governor Beshear says several amount of funds are coming into the Commonwealth, and not just from FEMA but also the American Rescue Plan Act.

“What we’re looking at is billions of dollars between a couple of different plans and some to come that could be flowing into this state that could address impediments that have held us back for so long,” Gov. Beshear said.

The disaster declaration includes public assistance for 25 counties in the state, including Breathitt, Elliott, Floyd, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Pike, Powell, Rockcastle, and Wolfe.

“So many families and communities were hurt by this historic flooding, and we thank President Biden for working so quickly to grant this relief,” Gov. Beshear said. “I will be traveling to affected counties next week to help inform those who have been impacted on how to apply for relief.”

The governor issued a State of Emergency on February 28 in response to flooding, followed by 49 counties and 31 cities.

“We’re very appreciative of the major disaster declaration from President Biden for the recent severe flooding event,” stated Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management. “We look forward to working with our FEMA Region IV partners in moving quickly to authorize payments for individual assistance to our many citizens who were displaced due to damages from the record flooding.”

Beshear hopes that those in the state, will take advantage of this opportunity.

“These dollars are going to help us to get back up on our feet after this natural disaster but we want to get back up on to our feet so we can sprint into our future,” Gov. Beshear said.

Acknowledging that not every impacted county was included.

“Many local leaders in Eastern Kentucky that have been through this before were very skeptical about getting individual assistance at all so, this is really good news. Do we need to continue to work to expand it? Absolutely, and we’re doing that,” Gov. Beshear said.

Additional county designations may be made at a later time if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

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