Gov. Beshear requests Major Disaster Declaration from federal government for flooding relief

Floods blocked Kentucky State Route 2059 in the Stopover area of Pike County.
Floods blocked Kentucky State Route 2059 in the Stopover area of Pike County.(John Lowe/WSAZ)
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 2:27 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) - Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has sent a request to President Joe Biden asking for a Major Disaster Declaration to be issued after some of the worst flooding in the state’s history.

The flooding happened between February 26 and March 1. Residents experienced over seven inches of rain in four southcentral and southeastern Kentucky counties. Flooding occurred on the Green, Kentucky, Licking, Ohio, Red and Mississippi rivers. Governor Beshear issued a State of Emergency Order on February 28. 48 counties and and 31 cities also declared local states of emergency. Of those 48 counties, 26 of them were severely impacted by the ice storm in February.

“This flooding was some of the worst in my lifetime, damaging about 2,000 homes and destroying infrastructure, including some of our roadways, and we are asking the president to declare a disaster to provide both individual and public assistance that is needed to help our people and our communities rebuild,” said Gov. Beshear. “This flooding, just days after harsh winter storms left tens of thousands without power, was the latest in a line of devastating setbacks, but our people are strong, we are resilient and we will build back.”

FEMA has conducted joint damage assessments and validated more than 2,000 impacted homes in the counties of Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Johnson, Lee, Magoffin, Martin and Powell. Gov. Beshear is requesting these counties to get Individuals and Households Assistance from FEMA.

“The recent flooding event brought yet another severe impact to families and communities across the commonwealth, and more specifically to our residents in nine eastern counties already damaged from the February ice storm event,” said Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management. “The Governor’s request for an award of individual and public assistance from the federal government highlights the urgency and extreme need for support in restoring the damaged and destroyed homes in our flooded neighborhoods and repairing the infrastructure damage suffered in this record flooding event.”

Over 44 counties across the state have reported more than 1,200 instances of damage to infrastructure, debris removal and emergency measures totaling over $49 million. Kentucky, to date, has requested FEMA joint assessments in 36 counties, including Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Cumberland, Elliott, Floyd, Franklin, Greenup, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Lincoln, Magoffin, Marion, Martin, Mason, McCreary, Morgan, Ohio, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Trigg, Union, Whitley and Wolfe. As of March 30, 2021, FEMA has verified in excess of $30 million in Public Assistance damages. The state threshold for requesting a declaration is $6.7 million.

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