Just over two weeks after Gov. Andy Beshear requested a major disaster declaration from the federal government, President Joe Biden approved the request April 23 and ordered federal assistance to support Kentucky communities and individuals to help them recover from some of the worst flooding in Kentucky’s history, according to a statement from Beshear’s office.
The statement said this is the largest award for displaced individuals from damages to homes since a massive flooding event impacted the state in May 2010, when more than 4,200 structures were affected. In this case, counties have reported more than 1,200 instances of damage to infrastructure, debris removal and emergency measures costing more than $72 million.
“So many families and communities were hurt by this historic flooding, and we thank President Biden for working so quickly to grant this relief,” Beshear said in the statement. “I will be traveling to affected counties next week to help inform those who have been impacted on how to apply for relief.”
Assistance for eligible survivors can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses. Long-term, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Before applying, please have your social security number, insurance information, damage information, bank information and contact information ready. You should register with FEMA even if you have insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but if you are under-insured, you may receive help after your insurance claim is settled. Registering with FEMA is required for federal aid, even if you registered with another disaster relief organization or a community or church organization.
From Feb. 26 to March 1, Kentucky experienced some of the greatest one-day and three-day winter rainfall totals in history, the statement said, exceeding seven inches in several Southcentral and Southeastern Kentucky counties. Flooding occurred on the Green, Kentucky, Licking, Ohio, Rolling Fork and Mississippi rivers. State roads in 21 counties closed due to flooding, mudslides and pavement breaks.
The governor issued a State of Emergency Order on Feb. 28. Forty-nine counties and 31 cities also declared states of emergency. The Governor activated the Kentucky National Guard to assist with evacuations and partner with state agencies to deliver 45,000 gallons of water and more than 53,000 meals to Kentuckians in need.
“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.”
FEMA conducted joint damage assessments and subsequently awarded individuals and households assistance for more than 2,300 impacted homes in the counties of Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Johnson, Lee, Magoffin, Martin and Powell. The federal Disaster Declaration includes activation of the individuals and households Assistance Program for these impacted counties. Application directions for individual assistance are not yet available.
The federal Disaster Declaration includes Public Assistance for the counties of Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Cumberland, Elliott, Floyd, Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Magoffin, Marion, Martin, Mason, Morgan, Ohio, Pike, Powell, Rockcastle and Wolf counties.
Gov. Beshear will submit an additional request for FEMA assessments of homes in counties that were not included in this declaration.
Residents with questions or additional reports of flood damage should contact their local county emergency management agency.