By Portia Williams
CARTER COUNTY, Ky. – Carter County among the Kentucky counties to receive a federal grant for disaster relief. According to reports, Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear was notified Wednesday of President Barack Obama’ authorization of assistance for certain Kentucky counties that suffered significant damage as a result of July severe storms and flooding.
Beshear said federal assistance is greatly appreciated by the areas in Kentucky that been greatly affected by the recent flooding.
“Our Kentucky communities hit hard by devastating flooding are appreciative of this federal assistance as they work to recover and rebuild,” Beshear said. “I am pleased, and thankful, that our request was granted quickly, so those affected can begin to put their lives back together.”
The storms which plagued the area from July 11-20, 2015, caused heavy rain and flash flooding, which claimed lives, washed out roads and forced people from their homes in the affected communities.
In his letter requesting the disaster declaration, the Beshear noted the four deaths attributed to the flash flood that destroyed the mountain community of Flat Gap in Johnson County.
The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Carter County Judge Executive Mike Malone said the aftermath of the recent storms have left many Carter County residents devastated, and the grant will pacify many desperate circumstances.
“They will send a team of people in to assess the damage to public infrastructure, like utilities, roads, power lines and things like that and they include state and county roads in the assessments, and that is what’s called public assistance,” Malone said. “We have demonstrate to them counties damages literal damages exceeds $190,000. In their initial visit that is what they confirm. And then, statewide, I think the level of damage has to reach somewhere around $6 million, and of course, Johnson County probably had that alone.”
“It is hard to say how much individual damage there will be, but what they will do next week is come in and have what is called a DRC, the Damage Review Center,” Malone said. “We are thinking they will located it in Olive Hill because, that’s where all of the damage was. They will set up the site, and will probably be here for at a least a month talking to people, encouraging people to come in, and to bring any of the pictures of the damage, or money spent on the damage. They will then make an assessment on how much they will pay to the individuals for the damage they suffered, and then they will send people out to look at it, and that’s the way you arrive at your total damages for individual assistance.”
He said the assessment program is income based, and that an announcement will probably be made next week disclosing the location for the DRC. According to Malone, there were no fatalities as the result of the recent flooding and storms, but he said many families have experienced tremendous losses and damage to their homes and property. He also said they are very appreciative for the relief disaster funding that will help Carter County residents whose lives have been impacted by the severe weather conditions.
Federal funding also is available to eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides, and mudslides in a total of 34 counties.
They are Bracken, Breathitt, Carroll, Carter, Clay, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Magoffin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Perry, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Spencer, Trimble, Washington and Wolfe counties.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) immediately began coordination efforts to ensure the rapid deployment of services to impacted citizens and local governments. Citizens in Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble counties who need assistance are encouraged to apply with FEMA online at: http://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
Beshear issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for all of Kentucky on July 13, 2015. The Commonwealth’s Emergency Operations Plan and the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center were activated. During the disaster, Gov. Beshear also issued an executive order prohibiting price gouging in the sale of goods and services in the Commonwealth, and implementing other provisions to protect Kentucky consumers.
Additional information on KYEM’s Recovery Branch and FEMA’s assistance programs can be found at http://kyem.ky.gov/recovery/Pages/Public-Assistance-Program-Overview.aspx where you can also ‘like’ and ‘follow’ KYEM on Facebook and Twitter.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.