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President Biden approves Kentucky disaster declaration

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Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - President Joe Biden has approved a disaster declaration in Kentucky.

White House officials say President Biden ordered federal assistance to assist the state and local recovery efforts affected by the severe winter storms, mudslides, and landslides from Feb. 8 to Feb. 19.

Federal funding is available to eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair of facilities in the counties of Bath, Boyd, Boyle, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Garrard, Greenup, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Magoffin, Marion, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Nelson, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.

In Jackson County, where Judge-Executive Shane Gabbard says the damage from the ice storm alone will reach into the millions of dollars in this small rural county, it has been one challenge after another.

Ten’s of thousands lost power in the county and, just to put it into perspective, $6 million alone was spent restoring power.

Gabbard tells us that they don’t know how much money will be coming or when it will arrive but he’s hoping the county will also be eligible for individual assistance which means homeowners could benefit.

“It all happened so fast. It kept getting worse,” Gabbard said. “We went from ice to snow and so many trees coming down, everyone out of electric. You can’t get electric out there because there’s trees in the way.”

Most of the northern end of Jackson County lost water service during the storm and officials say they may use federal money to prevent that from happening again.

“So, one thing we are going to look at, generators for our water towers. We want to make sure if we lose electric again we won’t lose electric and water,” Gabbard said.

Jackson County officials are also hopeful the county will benefit from a disaster declaration from the flooding that they say they are still discovering new damage from.

Officials say federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire commonwealth.

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