By JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
Public officials in Kentucky are calling for the Obama administration to take immediate action to send aid to parts of the state that recently suffered deadly storms.
“I have been in touch with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and they are already on the ground to aid our people,” U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers said.
Gov. Steve Beshear formally requested an expedited major disaster declaration from the President.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the damages to our state are so heavy that we will qualify for federal disaster aid,”Beshear said. “To speed that process, today, I am sending President Obama notification that I am formally requesting a federal disaster declaration.”
Beshear talked yesterday with President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about the devastation from the storms.
On Monday, Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, National Guard officials and lawmakers toured parts of Kentucky hit hardest by the storms.
The governor has deployed nearly 400 National Guard troops to assist with security, traffic control and other needs in affected counties.
Local emergency officials and National Guard troops have completed search and rescue efforts in all our affected counties. The Department of Public Health is reporting 21 fatalities from the storm, and more than 300 injuries. The fatalities include five in Laurel County, seven in Morgan County, three in Kenton County, two in Johnson County, two in Menifee County, and two in Lawrence County.
Several agencies are working to help those affected by the storms.
The Kentucky Department for Community Based Services has arranged a temporary office in Morgan County, the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions is working with management teams of three storm-damaged banks in West Liberty to ensure customers have ready access to their money and other banking services. The Transportation Cabinet will be working to ensure that emergency workers can access affected areas.
The Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction has dispatched five general inspectors to assist with building assessments in counties hit by storms.
Disaster response teams with the Kentucky Department of Insurance are working with counties about claim information and monitoring responses of insurance companies to ensure an adequate number of adjusters are on the ground.
Kentucky Emergency Management is receiving calls from people trying to locate loved ones. People seeking to locate friends or relatives in affected areas should register a person’s information on the Kentucky Emergency Management website at kyem.ky.gov. The information will go to local emergency management teams, who will attempt to locate them. Information can also be provided to the Red Cross’ “Safe and Well” program, by visiting www.americanredcross.org.