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Beshear: FEMA must 'get it right' in response to floods

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Bruce Shriner

FRANKFORT, Kentucky (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday relented in federal aid in flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky. said to request. The Federal Emergency Management Agency insists it needs to "get it right" by broadly helping residents trying to rebuild their lives.

President Joe Biden visits devastated Appalachian region The day after he said the country had a duty to help all people at the time, Kentucky's Democratic governor said the devastation was so widespread that it would be one of the most difficult rebuilds. Efforts the country has seen.

"I think this is the natural disaster we see. Will FEMA get it right?" Beshear said at a press conference on Tuesday. Stated. "Or is it going to be an example of people being excited when they come in, but even more chilling when they leave?"

"Yes to all major programs," he said, but said FEMA should do more to help more people recover.

"This is what FEMA is supposed to be there for," the governor said. ``For those who are annihilated, and who can't get back on their feet.''

Heavy rains that could cause more flash floods hit eastern Kentucky as work continues to clear a staggering amount of debris. I was prepared for the possibility of Flood monitoring was in place in the area until Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

"His next two days are a serious concern," he said. "People have been through too much."

At least 37 people have died since last month's deluge, and in just 48 hours he has seen 8 to 10-1/2 inches of rain. went down. Authorities hope to add at least one fatality to the total, the governor said.

Beshear said his more than 500 people were left homeless by the disaster. People are staying in emergency shelters and state parks. The outage was reduced to about 370 customers, but about 6,600 service connections remained without water, he said.

Efforts to clear the debris are progressing, he said, Mr Beshear. He added:

Once the latest storm has passed, officials hope to move from "emergency mode to stable mode," the governor said. That means people can find temporary accommodation that they can "reach out a little bit" for, he said, and get the long-term support they need to rebuild. 47} Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul visited flood-hit areas of their hometown on Tuesday. Paul urged Biden and Beshear to issue a waiver allowing his unused COVID-19 relief funds to be used to rebuild disaster-hit areas.

McConnell said he hoped "red tape" would not surface to get the relief residents needed.

"I think you're going to need more help than is normally available," McConnell said during the stop. “There are a lot of funds that normally don’t exist as a result of COVID response. Much of that money is still available. } The governor said at a state legislative briefing on Tuesday that there were encouraging signs in FEMA's response in Appalachia.

"And every time he sees one of them, it's good," he said. "It's willing to reopen people's claims on mobile registration sites. And they told us that anyone who was rejected would get a call from their country office."

The governor has extensive FEMA experience, and he also led the state's recovery from a deadly tornado that devastated several towns in western Kentucky last December.

"The next thing we have to look at is where they are saying 'yes' where they may have said 'no' in the past. Beshear said Tuesday.

The situation in eastern Kentucky is difficult, he said. Part of the reason is that the area has limited flat land as people seek places to rebuild.

is working on relief for eastern Kentucky, just like the tornado-hit towns in western Kentucky. Mr. Beshear said on Tuesday that he had no doubt he would call state lawmakers to a special session, possibly sometime next month, to take up the aid proposal.

The package, still under construction, will likely include aid to affected cities and counties, and will also benefit individuals, the governor said.

When families say, 'what does that mean to me,' it means that water bills won't go up when they're already struggling because of the sheer amount of money they put into that water system. It takes time to rebuild," he said. "This means we can rebuild our children's schools and run them faster. And if we do it right, without raising property taxes."


Rebecca Reynolds, an AP writer from Louisville, Kentucky, contributed to this report.