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KyCIR Amplify: A KY Tornado survivor expected FEMA to help. Instead, she got denied

Kyla Staple
Kyla Staple

89.3 WFPL News Louisville · KyCIR Amplify: FEMA denials frustrate KY tornado survivors

Kyla Staple’s Bowling Green home was destroyed when a tornado tore through her neighborhood in December.

A few days after the storm, she applied for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose mission is to help people before, during and after disaster strikes.

But FEMA denied her request.

The deadly tornadoes that swept across western Kentucky, killing 77 people and causing billions of dollars in damages, left thousands of people seeking aid and getting rejected.

The agency denied 87% of the 11,800 applicants who’ve sought assistance through the Individuals and Households Program, which can provide money to help pay for temporary housing, repairs to homes or other critical needs like food.

Staple and her family are now living with her father. She’s stressed, and said FEMA’s denial “minimized what we went through.”

“I just don’t understand,” she said. “They’re really not helping many people, at all.”

To hear Staple tell her story, click the audio player above.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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