Kentucky Federal Delegation Supports Governor's Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration for Deadly July Storms
Jul 31 2015
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie sent a joint letter of support to President Obama requesting an expedited review of Governor Steve Beshear's request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance for Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble Counties as a result of the deadly storms that swept through the Commonwealth July 11-20, 2015.
"Despite the extensive and valiant response, search and rescue efforts of a wide range of volunteer agencies, the damage caused by these storms far exceeds the capacity of the state and local government,” the letter states. “Additionally, the counties being requested for federal assistance are confronting a number of significant economic challenges and the need among many of these citizens is great. Timely and full implementation of the Individuals and Households Assistance program would provide much needed aid to the Kentucky communities so severely affected by this disaster."
Four people tragically lost their lives in Eastern Kentucky as a flash flood destroyed much of the Flat Gap community in a matter of hours. In his letter to the President, Governor Beshear detailed the extensive search and rescue efforts in Johnson County alone.
"There were 41 searchers representing the local sheriff, Kentucky State Police, and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, and 53 Kentucky National Guardsmen. There were six volunteer canine teams from Kentucky Search Dogs, Grand Paws, Commonwealth Canine, Ohio Valley Search and Rescue, Bloodhound SAR, and CSI of Kentucky that were comprised of 27 handlers and 30 canines," wrote Gov. Beshear. "The primary work is being accomplished in Johnson County with other significant efforts in Rowan, Carter, and Trimble counties. Groups are providing an array of assistance including sheltering, feeding, volunteer and donations management, clearing of debris, and counseling."
Additionally, many homes were destroyed or heavily damaged, along with power systems, water distribution capabilities and transportation infrastructure. As a result of the damage, 30 counties and 11 cities issued a local state of emergency.
On July 13, Governor Beshear issued an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency for all of Kentucky. After initial assessments were completed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Governor determined that the severity and scope of the damage is beyond the capabilities of the Commonwealth and local governments, leading to his request for federal assistance. The request includes implementation of the full Individuals and Hoouseholds Assistance Program including the Crisis Counseling Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Disaster Case Management, Disaster Legal Services, and the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program.
Click here to download a copy of the letter from the Kentucky federal delegation to the President.