May 28—The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a major disaster declaration for 22 Kentucky counties — including Fayette — following severe flooding all over the state earlier this year, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday.
Anderson, Fayette, Jessamine, Laurel, Madison, Warren and Woodford counties were added to the disaster declaration, and residents in those counties are now able to apply for assistance.
Households in Boyd, Clark, Franklin, Greenup, Jackson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pulaski and Rockcastle counties also are now eligible for individual assistance after government agencies and qualifying nonprofits previously were approved for public assistance to repair damaged facilities and infrastructure.
"There will now be more resources available for Kentuckians and Kentucky communities to rebuild after the historic flooding," Beshear said in a statement released Friday morning. "We acted quickly to request federal assistance and appreciate FEMA quickly approving our request as our fellow Kentuckians continue to recover from the severe storms."
The storms occurred in late February through mid-March.
The most significant flood damage in Fayette County appeared to be in the southern-most part of the county, near the Kentucky River. Rising water levels partially swallowed cars and caused some to evacuate their homes via boat.
Far more severe flooding occurred in Eastern Kentucky, leaving communities underwater. One county official said the flooding was "unlike anything most of us have ever seen."
The Kentucky River crested at higher than 40 feet in some areas during the flooding.
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 storms, according to the governor's office.
Residents and business owners in the counties included in the disaster declaration can begin applying for assistance with FEMA by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, downloading the FEMA app, or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY: 800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired). The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Residents who wanted to apply were asked to have their Social Security number, insurance information, damage information, bank information and contact information ready.
Residents applying should also register with FEMA even if they have insurance. FEMA can't duplicate insurance payments, but those who are underinsured may receive help after their insurance claims are settled.
"Thanks to FEMA for the approval of our add-on counties," Michael Dossett, Kentucky's emergency management director, said in a statement. "This individual assistance will help hundreds of our citizens who were displaced by the record flooding. Federal teams are already in the commonwealth and will be able to quickly begin the registration process in the additional areas."
Residents who had additional questions or needed to report additional damage were asked to contact their local emergency management agency. Lexington's emergency management agency can be reached at (859) 280-8080.
The approval announced Friday was in addition to a previous disaster declaration from President Joe Biden that had already allowed individuals and communities in Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Johnson, Lee, Magoffin, Martin and Powell counties to request help after the severe storms, flooding and mudslides.
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