President Barack Obama (File) (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The President has declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered Federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of February 29 to March 3, 2012.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Johnson, Kenton, Laurel, Lawrence, Menifee, Morgan, and Pendleton.
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 disaster.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire commonwealth.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Elizabeth Turner as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed
FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
U.S. Representative Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) announced this evening that President Obama issued a major disaster declaration (FEMA-4057-DR) for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, triggering the release of federal funds to help people recover from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding that occurred February 29 to March 3, 2012.
The declaration comes only one day after Congressman Rogers led the Kentucky Congressional delegation to sign a letter in support of Governor Beshear's request to the President for an expedited federal emergency declaration in the wake of the deadly storms that swept across the state on Friday, March 2, 2012. This declaration paves the way for federal assistance to aid Kentuckians struggling with the loss of homes, debris removal, lost possessions and damaged structures.
"This is a critical first step toward recovery," stated Rogers. "I appreciate FEMA and federal officials moving swiftly to approve individual assistance for Kentucky families, many of whom are facing complete loss. First responders, Red Cross volunteers, state emergency personnel, and Kentucky National Guardsmen have been steadfastly on the scene. This is the next wave of support to find temporary housing and basic needs for our people as we dig out and rebuild."
This immediate declaration offers Individual Assistance (IA) to impacted individuals in Johnson, Kenton, Laurel, Lawrence, Morgan, Menifee, and Pendleton counties. Public Assistance (PA) has not yet been determined. Modification of this declaration is likely, as damage assessments continue throughout the Commonwealth.
During the recovery process, Rogers reminds storm survivors to take photographs to document the damage on public and private property. FEMA officials say photographs are beneficial when applying for federal emergency aid.