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Gov. Beshear visits Eastern Kentucky following presidential disaster declaration for flooding

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 10:05 AM EDT
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(WYMT) - Gov. Andy Beshear made stops in several Eastern Kentucky communities Thursday following last week’s announcement from the Biden administration of federal help in the wake of recent flooding.

The original declaration only covered Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Johnson, Lee, Magoffin, Martin and Powell County from February 27th through March 14th. Beshear has asked President Biden to add 26 additional counties to the declaration. Kentucky congressmen Rep. Hal Rogers (R-5th District), Rep. Andy Barr (R-6th District), and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-2nd District) also signed a joint letter supporting the governor’s request for additional aid.

The governor’s first stop was in Prestonsburg, where he held a news conference with local leaders at the Mountain Arts Center.

Gov. Andy Beshear made several stops in the mountains on Thursday, starting his trip at the...
Gov. Andy Beshear made several stops in the mountains on Thursday, starting his trip at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg.(Buddy Forbes)

During the event and others in Salyersville and Jackson, Beshear talked about how the flooding impacted those affected and how they quickly pulled together.

“It endangered lives. It destroyed people’s homes, " said Gov. Beshear. “After this year had taken so much.”

Beshear said the devastation was dark, but the way people came together was uniquely Kentuckian.

“But the thing that makes Kentucky amazing is our people. Our neighbors are there for us. They rally around us,” said the governor.

He says his office immediately jumped into action after the reports of damage started coming in, adding while our region is no stranger to flooding that something was different this time.

“We took it seriously. Wanted to make sure that we were acting immediately,” he said. “This was something significant. It was something more.”

Gov. Andy Beshear made a stop in Jackson on Thursday to discuss the recent disaster declaration...
Gov. Andy Beshear made a stop in Jackson on Thursday to discuss the recent disaster declaration and to award state funds for road projects to the county.(Dakota Makres)

The FEMA funding is available for those with significant damage in the original nine counties listed above for now.

Gov. Beshear said families are eligible for thousands of dollars to help them begin to recover. You can apply for the money at DisasterAssistance.gov. For those who are hearing and speech impaired, they can call 1-800-621-3362.

“Our families are gonna be able to apply for between $39-$49k to help rebuild their homes. To help rebuild their lives,” Beshear said. “And you know what? It feels good.”

Around 1,000 entries are already in from people in the approved counties. 293 of those are in Breathitt County. Officials say those applying should have personal info and pictures of the damage to submit.

June 23rd is the deadline to apply.

During his stops, the governor also announced state funding for some road projects in Floyd, Magoffin and Breathitt County.

Those include more than $200,000 to improve highway safety near Prestonsburg Elementary School, $361,000 to Floyd County for road resurfacing and $761,257 to Magoffin County for resurfacing projects there.

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