FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 8, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on the historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky, infrastructure awards, Western Kentucky tornado recovery, an award to plug orphan wells, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Hunger Action Month, COVID-19 and monkeypox. He also named Kentucky State Parks employees as Team Kentucky All-Stars.
Eastern Kentucky Flood Update
Gov. Beshear said there are 39 confirmed fatalities in five counties.
Kentucky Emergency Management has coordinated with the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Aviation Branch to conduct an aerial search for the two missing Breathitt County citizens: Vanessa Baker, a 60-year-old woman, and Nancy Cundiff, a 29-year-old woman – both from the Lost Creek community. If you have any information about either of these individuals, please contact KSP Post 13 in Hazard at 606-435-6069.
There are currently about 262 outages, down from 27,000 on July 29.
All drinking water systems are now operational; 22 systems were down immediately after the flooding.
The City of Buckhorn water system is now fully operational. Connection restoration to Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park should be completed by the end of the week.
There are 53 service connections without water, down from 34,121 on July 28. More than 1,310 customers remain under a boil water advisory, down from 46,000. Two water systems have limited operations: Breathitt and Hazard. Four wastewater systems are not operational: Fleming-Neon, Millstone Alternative, Buckhorn Elementary and High Schools and Robinson Elementary School.
Local organizations including state parks, churches and schools are providing shelter to survivors. Kentucky state parks are currently housing more than 340 people.
Another 542 loads of debris, amounting to 8,705 tons, were removed on Wednesday from waterways and state and county rights-of-way. To date, 78,218 tons of debris have been removed from state and county rights-of-way and 37,041 tons from waterways.
More than $60.6 million in grants have been approved under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program for 7,100 households. In addition to visiting a Disaster Recovery Center, Kentuckians can also apply through FEMA at DisasterAssistance.gov, on their mobile app or by calling 800-621-3362. There are six fixed Disaster Recovery Centers now open. To see the locations, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.
Currently, 300 individuals are being housed in 100 travel trailers across seven state parks. Individuals seeking emergency sheltering in travel trailers can find more information and register at governor.ky.gov/FloodResources or call 502-234-1225. Last week, Gov. Beshear and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the State of Louisiana is donating up to 300 travel trailers originally acquired to aid Hurricane Ida survivors to shelter Eastern Kentucky flood victims. As of today, 65 of those travel trailers have arrived in Kentucky and are being prepared to house Eastern Kentucky families through the Commonwealth Sheltering Program.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Lee County residents are now eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Disaster Unemployment Assistance claimants in Lee County can apply for benefits online through the Kentucky Career Center website or by phone at 502-875-0442. The deadline to apply is Oct. 10.
Homeland Security Grant Funding
The Governor announced that Kentucky will receive nearly $1 million in FEMA Disaster Case management grant funding for expanded flood survivor services in Eastern Kentucky. The $996,457 award from Homeland Security FEMA Disaster Case Management will expand long-term disaster case management services in the 13 counties that were approved for Individual Assistance through the federal disaster declaration. The funding will help residents of Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Whitley counties.
It will provide basic support, including housing assistance, food assistance and help with navigating insurance and legal entities. The grant will fund case managers who will work with individuals to secure basic needs, allowing them to move toward a more familiar life. The grant is in place through July 30, 2024.
Of the 25 school districts in the impacted area, 22 are back in session and three are scheduled to return in late September.
Private Bridges Emergency Repair
Currently, 423 private bridges have been registered through the Private Bridge/Access Emergency Repair program. These bridges will be evaluated by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and FEMA. The Governor noted, however, that evaluation does not guarantee eligibility for emergency access. To register for the Private Bridge/Access Emergency Repair program, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.
Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund
Flood survivors that qualify for FEMA are eligible for an additional $500. Much like the process for the Western Kentucky tornado relief, there is no application for this assistance. Data is being collected through FEMA, and eligible recipients will receive payment directly. To date, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief fund has raised over $9 million from 36,768 donors. The fund has paid for 39 funerals totaling $390,000. Donations can be made at TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov.
So far, 156 FEMA assessments on public bridges have been completed, with 1,098 bridges inspected. The estimated cost to fix the damaged bridges is $74 million. On Friday, the Governor announced the beginning of construction to permanently replace county and state bridges damaged by flooding. The priority projects include more than 170 publicly owned crossings that were damaged or destroyed and that have significantly limited or eliminated access for drivers. Among the 170 bridges identified for replacement or repair, approximately 100 require full replacement or replacement of the bridge superstructure, which is the area at the top of the bridge.
Gov. Beshear Presents $14.2 Million for Eastern Kentucky Counties, Provides Update on Travel Trailers
On Tuesday, Gov. Beshear presented $11.6 million for four projects to improve infrastructure, public safety and water treatment in Perry County. He also announced the start of a project to replace almost 20,000 feet of waterlines and awarded $2.6 million in funding to improve water infrastructure in Floyd County. While in Perry and Floyd counties, the Governor updated Kentuckians on the travel trailers enroute to Floyd, Letcher and Perry counties, donated by the State of Louisiana after they were originally purchased to house Hurricane Ida survivors. To read more, click here and here.
Western Kentucky Tornado Update
Gov. Beshear also provided an update on recovery efforts almost nine months after the deadly tornadoes in Western Kentucky.
“Soon we will recognize the nine-month anniversary of the December 10-11 tornadoes. As we continue to mourn those we lost, I want to provide some updates on where we stand on helping the survivors of the Western Kentucky storms rebuild and recover,” Gov. Beshear said. “We continue to stand with Western Kentucky.”
To date, it is estimated that federal, state and Red Cross disaster assistance totals more than $224.3 million – with the Commonwealth of Kentucky efforts representing more than $123 million through SAFE Act Funds and the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.
Western Kentucky State Aid for Emergencies (SAFE) Fund
Through the Western Kentucky SAFE Fund $71.3 million has been approved to provide victims shelter in travel trailers, support impacted schools and their students and provide local rebuilding assistance.
Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund
The Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund raised more than $52 million, with more than $42.5 million committed from the fund for both short- and long-term recovery efforts, which included paying for victims’ funerals and housing.
At the highest point, Kentucky State Parks housed and provided food service for 835 people. As of last week, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park had one camper on-site. The last distressed guest checked out of Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park on July 18.
Temporary Trailer Sheltering
Currently, 164 individuals are being sheltered in eight travel trailers across Western Kentucky. At the peak of the sheltering program, 99 families were sheltered in travel trailers. Forty-four decommissioned and 75 vacant trailers have been moved from Western to Eastern Kentucky.
As part of his Better Kentucky Plan’s Stronger Communities Program, Gov. Beshear announced a $25 million federal grant to plug orphan oil and gas wells across the commonwealth. The initiative is expected to create 180 jobs.
September is ‘Childhood Cancer Awareness Month’ and ‘Hunger Action Month’
Last week, the Governor signed a proclamation recognizing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and he lit the Governor’s Mansion gold in honor of Kentucky kids fighting this disease. Childhood cancer is the No. 1 cause of death by disease in children, and 1 in 285 children and teens in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. In each year since his inauguration, Gov. Beshear has recognized Childhood Cancer Awareness Month as well as David Turner Jr. Ice Cream Day, in honor of a 9-year-old Kentuckian who died of cancer after a courageous battle.
Yesterday, along with advocates from Feeding Kentucky and regional food banks, Gov. Beshear recognized September as Hunger Action Month in the commonwealth. Kentucky has the ninth-highest rate of hunger in the nation. More than 200,000 kids may not know where their next meal is going to come from. The Beshear administration delivered more than 5 million meals to Kentucky seniors during the pandemic. The Governor also vetoed the legislature’s decision to cut SNAP benefits for more than 600,000 Kentuckians, before that veto was overridden.
Health Update: COVID-19 and Monkeypox
The Governor urged eligible Kentuckians to get the new booster shots that protect against the omicron subvariants as COVID-19 continues to spread in the commonwealth. These boosters are recommended for all persons 12 years and older who had their last COVID-19 vaccine dose at least two months ago. The updated vaccine is available at pharmacies, doctors’ offices and health departments. Locations and appointments can be found on vaccines.gov.
A total of 34 cases of monkeypox have been identified in Kentucky. All cases have occurred in adults. Anyone who is at risk of contracting the disease should contact their local health department to identify options for obtaining the vaccine.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Gov. Beshear named Kentucky State Parks employees as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. Following July’s historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky, more than 350 individuals have been provided emergency shelter at four state parks. Park staff have also been working with the American Red Cross, local churches, businesses and restaurants to ensure Eastern Kentucky flood victims have basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing.
“Our state employees at the parks are true Team Kentucky All-Stars and I want to recognize them and celebrate their efforts today,” said Gov. Beshear. “Thank you to every Team Kentucky member working at these four parks and across our entire Kentucky State Parks team for everything you are doing.”