LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear pointed to signs of progress Thursday as federal emergency personnel respond to requests for assistance in flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky, but stressed it’s “still not enough” as people work to recover from the disaster that swept away homes and inundated communities.
A week ago, the Democratic governor berated the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response, just days after President Joe Biden visited the stricken Appalachian region and declared the federal government would provide support until residents were back on their feet. The flooding caused at least 39 deaths. Two women in the region are still missing.
Beshear was more upbeat Thursday in his updated assessment of FEMA’s response, while stressing that the state is closely monitoring the agency’s handling of relief requests.
Since flash flooding engulfed parts of eastern Kentucky late last month, FEMA has approved more than $40 million in grants for 5,267 households under its Individuals and Households Program, the governor said. About half the total requests for the assistance have been approved so far, up from the “30-something percent” figure he saw initially, he said.
“Still not enough, but it is progress,” Beshear said at a news conference. “And when our federal partners, even if we’re frustrated sometimes, are making real progress, we want to say thank you, while also continuing to push FEMA to help out our families.”
That money distributed by FEMA includes more than $32 million in housing assistance to help people restore their homes to “habitable conditions,” Beshear said. Another $8 million has gone to help people meet other immediate needs, such as medical and dental expenses, moving and storage costs and child care, he said.