Gov. Beshear requests major disaster declaration for historic flooding

Gov. Beshear requests major disaster declaration for historic flooding
Governor Andy Beshear submitted a request on Wednesday, April 7 asking that a major disaster declaration be issued for historic flooding damage. (Source: Office of the Governor/KET)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear submitted a request on Wednesday, April 7 asking that a major disaster declaration be issued for historic flooding damage.

Kentucky saw some of the worst flooding in its history after unprecedented rainfall from Feb. 26 to March 1 led to flash flooding, mudslides and landslides across the Commonwealth.

Flooding occurred on the Green, Kentucky, Licking, Ohio, Red and Mississippi rivers.

“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 Governor 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.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency 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.

The governor requested these counties receive individuals and households assistance from FEMA.

More than 44 counties 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, FEMA has verified in excess of $30 million in Public Assistance damages. The state threshold for requesting a declaration is $6.7 million.

The governor issued a State of Emergency Order on Feb. 28.

Forty-eight counties and 31 cities also declared local states of emergency. Of the 48 counties declaring a state of emergency for this flooding, 26 were severely impacted by a February 2021 ice storm for which President Biden issued a Major Disaster Declaration on March 31.

The Kentucky National Guard was activated, which had soldiers assist in five counties, and worked with partners to deliver 45,000 gallons of water and more than 53,000 meals to Kentuckians in need.

Governor Beshear requested the disaster declaration about one week after President Biden approved the governor’s request for a major disaster declaration for severe winter storms that impacted Kentucky from Feb. 8 through Feb. 19.

Residents with questions or additional reports of flood damage should contact their local county emergency management agency.

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