FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 23, 2014) – Gov. Steve Beshear has asked President Obama to issue a major disaster declaration and provide emergency assistance to eastern Kentucky communities recovering from recent flooding.
Strong storms from Aug. 19-23 caused heavy rain and flash flooding, which washed out roads and forced people from their homes throughout the eastern part of the state. Communities in Floyd, Knott, Johnson and Pike counties were the hardest-hit.
“These severe storms and subsequent flooding caused widespread destruction to the state and community infrastructure in Floyd, Knott, Johnson and Pike counties, as well as to private homes,” Beshear said in his letter. “I have determined this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments. Federal assistance is necessary to supplement the efforts and available resources of the state, local governments, disaster relief organizations and compensation by insurance for disaster-related losses.”
Beshear is requesting the issuance of a major declaration “so that the requested federal assistance programs will be available to meet the needs of the communities in the affected areas.”
In response to the severe weather, Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management, implemented the State Emergency Operations Plan Aug. 23.
The plan includes the activation of the State Emergency Operations Center to a level IV. The center directs and coordinates the commonwealth’s emergency response and recovery after a weather-related event.
“We dispatched Recovery Incident Management Teams to the impact area to assist and coordinate with local emergency manager directors and elected officials immediately following the storms,” Dossett said. “The teams and volunteer agencies remained in the area for the next eight days to help citizens and complete preliminary damage assessments with local officials.”
The Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment conducted by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) indicated the damages exceed $6 million for this disaster. This is the first disaster declaration request Kentucky has made since a swath of tornadoes caused heavy destruction in eastern Kentucky in March 2012. Kentucky has had 11 federal disaster declarations since 2008.