President Biden Approves Gov. Beshear’s Request for Major Disaster Declaration for Historic Flooding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 23, 2021) – Just over two weeks after Gov. Andy Beshear requested a major disaster declaration from the federal government, President Joe Biden approved the request Friday and ordered federal assistance to support Kentucky communities and individuals to help them recover from some of the worst flooding in Kentucky’s history. 

This is the largest award for displaced individuals from damages to homes since a massive flooding event impacted the state in May 2010, when more than 4,200 structures were affected. In this case, counties have reported more than 1,200 instances of damage to infrastructure, debris removal and emergency measures costing more than $72 million.

“So many families and communities were hurt by this historic flooding, and we thank President Biden for working so quickly to grant this relief,” Gov. Beshear said. “I will be traveling to affected counties next week to help inform those who have been impacted on how to apply for relief.”

Gov. Beshear added that when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) opens the application portal, which is expected as soon as Saturday, his office will notify Kentuckians and the media.

From Feb. 26 to March 1, Kentucky experienced some of the greatest one-day and three-day winter rainfall totals in history, exceeding seven inches in several Southcentral and Southeastern Kentucky counties. Flooding occurred on the Green, Kentucky, Licking, Ohio, Rolling Fork and Mississippi rivers. State roads in 21 counties closed due to flooding, mudslides and pavement breaks.

The Governor issued a State of Emergency Order on Feb. 28. Forty-nine counties and 31 cities also declared states of emergency. The Governor activated the Kentucky National Guard to assist with evacuations and partner with state agencies to deliver 45,000 gallons of water and more than 53,000 meals to Kentuckians in need.

“We’re very appreciative of the major disaster declaration from President Biden for the recent severe flooding event,” stated Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management.  “We look forward to working with our FEMA Region IV partners in moving quickly to authorize payments for individual assistance to our many citizens who were displaced due to damages from the record flooding.”

FEMA conducted joint damage assessments and subsequently awarded individuals and households assistance for more than 2,300 impacted homes in the counties of Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Johnson, Lee, Magoffin, Martin and Powell. The federal Disaster Declaration includes activation of the individuals and households Assistance Program for these impacted counties. Application directions for individual assistance are not yet available.

The federal Disaster Declaration includes Public Assistance for the counties of Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Cumberland, Elliott, Floyd, Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Magoffin, Marion, Martin, Mason, Morgan, Ohio, Pike, Powell, Rockcastle and Wolf counties.

Gov. Beshear will submit an additional request for FEMA assessments of homes in counties that were not included in this declaration.

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