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Gov. Beshear provides Team Kentucky update focused on flood response

In News, State by OC Monitor Staff

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Today, Gov. Andy Beshear focused his weekly Team Kentucky update on the continuing efforts in Eastern Kentucky following historic flooding, noting that the state is now moving from the emergency phase to the stabilization phase.

“I see our response to this flooding in three phases: emergency, stabilization and rebuilding,” said Gov. Beshear. “This was the most devastating and deadly flooding our commonwealth has experienced in my lifetime. But the good news is, we are likely out of the emergency phase of responding to this disaster. Now we move into the stabilization phase, and then we can start rebuilding.”

The Governor also updated Kentuckians on new economic development projects, a surplus in the General Fund, the ongoing decline in gas prices and COVID-19. He also named those who have donated to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund as this week’s Team Kentucky All-stars.

Eastern Kentucky Flood Update

Fatalities

The Governor said there are 38 confirmed fatalities in five counties. The increase is due to the loss of Aaron “Mick” Crawford, a Knott County High School student who died after assisting with cleanup efforts in the area.

Missing Persons

Kentucky State Police reports there are two missing persons from Breathitt County they are still searching for after the flooding in Eastern Kentucky:

  • Vanessa Baker, a 60-year-old woman from the Lost Creek Community, is described as white, 5-feet-7-inches tall, weighing approximately 215 pounds and having dark-colored hair. Her last known location was at her residence in the area of Lower River Caney Road.
  • Nancy Cundiff, a 29-year-old woman from the Lost Creek Community, is described as white, 5-feet-1-inch tall, weighing approximately 280 pounds and having dark-colored hair. Her last known location was at her residence in the area of Lower River Caney Road.
  • Anyone with information about either woman is asked to contact Post 13 in Hazard at 606-435-6069.

Search and Rescue

A total of 1,334 rescues were completed between July 28 and Aug. 2 by the Kentucky National Guard, the Tennessee National Guard, the West Virginia National Guard, the Kentucky State Police and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Shelters

Twenty local organizations – including state parks, churches, schools and community centers – are housing 483 survivors.

Congregate Shelters – 162 survivors.

Kentucky State Parks – 321 people housed.

  • Jenny Wiley State Park: 177 people
  • Paintsville State Park: Four people
  • Pine Mountain State Park: Four people
  • Buckhorn Lake State Park: 136 people

Travel Trailers

The commonwealth immediately began transporting unoccupied trailers purchased for the December tornadoes in Western Kentucky to Eastern Kentucky after the floods.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has delivered 82 travel trailers to four sites:

  • Jenny Wiley State Park (Floyd County): 25 trailers on scene.
  • Carr Creek State Park (Knott County): 18 trailers on scene.
  • Mine Made Campground (Knott County): 30 trailers on scene.
  • Crockettsville Campground (Owsley County): Nine trailers on scene.

Individuals seeking emergency sheltering in travel trailers can find more information and register at governor.ky.gov/FloodResources or call 502-234-1225 to register.

Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund

  • Total number of donations: 31,667
  • Donated amount: $5,246,022
  • Distribution update: A total of 35 funeral payments have gone out totaling $350,000.
  • The Governor asked Kentuckians not to donate clothing. These donations are overcrowding much-needed storage space. He said to please focus on monetary donations through trusted funds.

To donate online, visit TeamEKYFloodReliefFund.ky.gov.

Kentucky National Guard

The Kentucky National Guard has distributed nearly 39,094 bottles of water and 43,882 meals.

Power Outages

Due to storms overnight Wednesday, power outages rose to 749 from 230 reported the day prior in impacted counties. The overnight storms did not cause significant damage to infrastructure, and the additional outages are expected to be resolved quickly. On July 25, there were 25,111 reported power outages.

Water Outages

Drinking Water:

  • One water system not operational;
  • 6,325 service connections without water, down from 40,000 almost two weeks ago;
  • More than 35,000 service connections under Boil Water Advisory, down from 46,194 about a week ago; and
  • Five water systems under limited operations, down from 18 on almost two weeks ago.

Wastewater:

  • Five wastewater systems not operational;
  • Six wastewater systems under limited operation, down from 18 almost two weeks ago;
  • Three wastewater plants are experiencing bypasses; and
  • Six systems are experiences discharges from portions of their collection systems, down from the 13 reported a week ago.

FEMA Programs and Updates

  • To learn more about Federal Emergency Management Agency programs and updates for flood survivors, see yesterday’s release.
  • The fastest way to apply for all of these programs is through DisasterAssistance.gov. Kentuckians can also apply through the FEMA mobile app or by calling 800-621-3362.
  • Kentuckians can also visit the FEMA Mobile Registration Centers traveling through the affected counties or one of the Disaster Recovery Centers in impacted counties. To find lists of locations, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources.

Roadways and Bridges Update

  • 100% of assessments on public bridges have been completed, with 1,098 bridges inventoried: 27 state and county bridges remain impassable; 32 bridges have been identified for replacement, and an additional 52 bridges have been identified as needing repair.
  • At least 153 landslides and mudslides that were blocking roadways have been removed and repaired.
  • KYTC assisted overwhelmed county road departments by reopening at least 96 county routes.

Debris

  • Debris removal began Saturday, Aug. 6. Through close of business yesterday, 227 truckloads of debris had been removed from six counties.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

  • Residents in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Whitley counties are now eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits and can file an application online through the Kentucky Career Center website or by phone at 502-875-0442.
  • Since July 28, six mobile offices have been opened and 1,000 claims have been processed.
  • The application deadline for all claimants has been extended until Sept. 6, 2022. To learn more, see the full release.

Disaster Recovery Center Resources

For a full list of Disaster Recovery Centers, locations that provide both state and federal resources in one place to best serve flood victims, visit governor.ky.gov/FloodResources. Unless otherwise noted, DRCs are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

Complete List of Executive Actions

To see a full list of the Governor’s executive actions in response to Eastern Kentucky flooding, click here.

Economic Development Update

Today, the Governor highlighted four economic development projects that are investing over $38 million and creating 259 jobs.

“We are keeping the economic momentum going with more exciting news each week – and it’s critical we continue these announcements across our state, and especially in the areas that have been hit by natural disasters,” the Governor said. “We want to help these Kentuckians rebuild and remain in the communities they love by providing good jobs that people can see a future in.”

Tuesday, the Governor announced leaders at third-party logistics provider Bluegrass Supply Chain Services LLC will locate a new operation in Warren County with a $25 million investment creating 110 full-time jobs as the company expands its logistics capabilities to serve the automotive and food and beverage markets.

On Wednesday, Gov. Beshear highlighted the continued momentum of the state’s metals and manufacturing sectors with the announcement of Skilcraft LLC’s expansion in Boone County, an $8.4 million investment that will create 14 well-paying jobs for local residents.

Today, the Governor announced the continued momentum of the state’s manufacturing sector as STOBER Drives Inc., a producer of gearbox and servo motors, will expand operations in Maysville with a $5 million investment that will create 35 full-time jobs.

And earlier today, Gov. Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman welcomed the opening of Ellie Diagnostics LLC’s flagship laboratory as leaders at the full-service veterinary wellness and diagnostic services provider held the grand opening of the company’s national hub, which will create up to 100 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.

General Fund Surplus

Yesterday, the Office of State Budget Director announced that Kentucky’s General Fund receipts for July, the first month of the 2023 Fiscal Year, totaled almost $1.08 billion. This is a 9.7% increase compared to July 2021 receipts. Gov. Beshear said that this is the fifth consecutive month in which collections have exceeded $1 billion.

“I don’t think we have ever seen five consecutive months, or even two consecutive months, with over $1 billion in receipts,” Gov. Beshear said. “The increase in revenue proves that Kentucky’s economy remains strong, with payrolls increasing and consumers continuing to make purchases.”

Gas Prices Continue to Decline

The Governor shared the good news that gas prices have dropped by 77 cents over the last month in the commonwealth. The average price for gas in Kentucky is almost 40 cents lower than the national average of $3.990 at $3.594, according to the American Automobile Association.

COVID-19 Update

Gov. Beshear noted that most Kentucky counties have a COVID-19 Community Level that is medium or high (orange or red). However, there are nine counties with a Community Level that is low (green).

Although the number of Kentuckians hospitalized or in the ICU for COVID-19 has increased over the past several weeks, hospitalizations remain much lower than what was observed during other surges. The positivity rate is also continuing to increase.

The Governor encouraged those who are sick to stay home to avoid spreading the disease to others. If you are sick or have had a known close contact with someone with COVID-19, please test yourself to lower the risk of spreading the virus unknowingly to others.

Team Kentucky All-Stars

The Governor recognized everyone who has donated to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. He also recognized corporate and community partners who have donated more than $10,000 to the fund:

  • HCA Healthcare – $100,000
  • New York Life – $100,000
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield – $50,000
  • Brown-Forman – $30,000
  • Chevron- $25,000
  • The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels – $25,000
  • Duke Energy – $12,500

“These are just a couple of groups that have stepped up and we wanted to make sure that we acknowledge them and anyone else who wants to help. The fund is fully transparent, and every dollar is going to help,” Gov. Beshear said.