President Grants Disaster Declaration for Kentucky
President Barack Obama has granted the major disaster declaration requested by Governor Steve Beshear in response to flooding in several parts of the commonwealth, including western Kentucky.According to a statement, Beshear's requests for public assistance and hazard mitigation were granted Wednesday evening."Public Assistance is aid to state or local governments to pay part of the costs of rebuilding a community's damaged infrastructure," says the Federal Emergency Management Agency website. "Generally, public assistance programs pay for 75 per cent of the approved project costs. Public Assistance may include debris removal, emergency protective measures and public services, repair of damaged public property, loans needed by communities for essential government functions and grants for public schools."Hazard mitigation is a bit more forward-looking. "Disaster victims and public entities are encouraged to avoid the life and property risks of future disasters," says FEMA. "Examples include the elevation or relocation of chronically flood-damaged homes away from flood hazard areas, retrofitting buildings to make them resistant to earthquakes or strong winds, and adoption and enforcement of adequate codes and standards by local, state and federal government. FEMA helps fund damage mitigation measures when repairing disaster-damaged structures and through the Hazard Mitigation."Beshear's office says several requests are still pending, including an application for assistance for farmers with damaged cropland.Meanwhile, Louisville Metro Government officials are calculating the cost of damage from the floods and are considering requesting federal assistance as well.