Wed, May 23, 2018 11:04 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Flood relief across region tops $1.5 million
by Jerry Pennington

REGION — Federal and state disaster assistance for February’s winters storms has topped $4 million statewide, and more than $1.5 million in the Big Sandy area, FEMA officials announced Saturday.

While the Big Sandy region was for the most part spared from the ice and snow, widespread flooding devastated much of the area.

On March 14, President George Bush declared 15 Eastern Kentucky counties federal disaster areas, opening the door for federal relief. On March 27, 14 additional counties were added to the list, which covered most everyone in the eastern part of the state.

In the region, a total of 556 applications for aid have been approved, totalling $1,501,033 in aid. The bulk of that went to Floyd County, with 301 applications approved for $834,817 in relief.

It was followed by Martin, which has had 85 applications approved for $275,603. Johnson County has had more applications than Martin approved with 110, but has received less cash with $215,416.

Lawrence County has had 37 applications approved for $114,770 and Magoffin 23 applications for $60,427.

“I think FEMA and the SBA have both done excellent jobs,” Floyd County Emergency Management Director Eddie Patton said.

Floyd was one of the area’s hardest-hit counties by flooding, and Patton said most of the debris was moved out shortly after the flood by the National Guard and county personnel.

When the disaster declaration came, Patton said they had already documented most of the county’s cases.

“We kept a list of every call during the flood and gave that to FEMA,” Patton said. “In some cases, we even went to houses and put notices on their doors.”

Now, the calls still trickle in at a rate of one or two a week, but for the most part, all the damage has been documented in Floyd. Patton said a few more applications have been added to the list, bumping the number up to 309.

The deadline to register for assistance in cleaning up from the storm is May 13. To register, call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.

When disaster strikes, FEMA administers a number of disaster-assistance programs and coordinates the efforts of many other federal agencies that provide services to help people through the recovery process. The types of assistance are:

Federal Emergency Management Agency Programs

n Disaster housing assistance: Housing assistance to individuals and families whose permanent homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm. Types of aid include grants for: alternate rental housing; emergency repairs needed to make a residence habitable; and mortgage or rental assistance in cases where the disaster has caused extreme economic hardship.

n Individual and family grant program: Grants to individuals and families to meet serious disaster-related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance or other federal, state or voluntary agency disaster assistance programs.

n Disaster unemployment assistance: Weekly benefits to individuals out of work due to the disaster, including self-employed persons, farm owners and others not usually covered under regular unemployment insurance.

U.S. Small Business Administration Programs

n Home/personal property disaster loans: Disaster loans to homeowners and renters for restoring or replacing underinsured or uninsured disaster-damaged real and personal property. (Available in declared counties.)

n Business disaster loans: Disaster loans to repair or replace destroyed or damaged business facilities, inventory, machinery, equipment, etc. not covered by insurance. (Available to large and small businesses in declared counties.) Loans also may be available to small businesses for working capital to assist them during the disaster recovery period. (Available in declared and contiguous counties.)

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