Just a day after Pulaski County Fiscal Court discussed the county's status in regard to getting federal assistance for recent flood damage, Governor Andy Beshear on Wednesday submitted a new request that includes the county.
The governor has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to conduct damage assessments in the following 26 counties that reported significant damages to residences and public infrastructure between February 27 and March 14: Anderson, Bell, Boyd, Calloway, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Greenup, Jackson, Jessamine, Knott, Laurel, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Todd, Warren and Woodford.
"Impacted Kentuckians in these counties are in dire need of individual assistance in the aftermath of this historic flood event that has already totaled more than $72 million in damages," Gov. Beshear said. "We have taken quick action to request more federal funding for more counties impacted to make sure we help affected people and businesses get back to their lives and livelihoods."
Following Gov. Beshear's request, President Joe Biden granted a Major Disaster Declaration for the Commonwealth of Kentucky Friday, April 23 -- making federal funding available to help individuals and communities in the counties of Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Johnson, Lee, Magoffin, Marion and Powell.
With several of the counties in the 5th Congressional District, Congressman Hal Rogers has been keeping a close watch on disaster declarations not only for the flooding but also severe winter storms that crossed the commonwealth earlier in February. After President Biden's approval of the initial flooding request last week, Rogers joined forces with fellow U.S. Representatives Andy Barr (KY-06) and Brett Guthrie (KY-02) in advocating for an expanded declaration -- working with Gov. Beshear's team to ensure every need is assessed.
On Thursday, they submitted a letter to Deanne Criswell, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in support of the new request for damage assessments.
"As Governor Beshear noted in his request to FEMA, many households in these counties remain in critical need of individual assistance following the historic flooding that devastated the region," the joint letter stated. "Many families have lost all belongings, furniture, appliances, and transportation, requiring many of them to restart their lives. The damage assessments that Governor Beshear has requested are a critical first step in ensuring these families receive the individual assistance they desperately need."
The state encourages residents with questions or additional reports of flood damage to contact their local county emergency management agency. Following the assessment from FEMA, which will take place in the next several weeks, a determination will be made on each county's eligibility to participate.
Once the FEMA assessments are complete, Governor Beshear could request a formal expansion of President Biden's Major Disaster Declaration.
FEMA encourages flood victims to document damage and continue cleanup efforts to prevent further damage. It is important for families to keep receipts from all purchases related to cleanup and repair for federal reimbursement in the event eligibility is determined.
At Tuesday's meeting of Pulaski County Fiscal Court, Deputy Judge-Executive Dan Price assured magistrates that the county had at least met the threshold needed for assistance with public infrastructure.
"I am confident we will receive some funding," Judge-Executive Steve Kelley said of the Beshear's latest request, "though I haven't seen a promised amount or timeline yet."