How to help: Kentucky flood victims seek help after claims denied

(NEXSTAR) – Despite devastating flooding that washed away homes and killed at least 39 people in eastern Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is denying many requests for relief from victims.

Rising waters last month houses washed away and flooded communities in the Appalachian region. While the search and rescue phase of the response is largely complete, the cleanup effort has encountered obstacles.

Earlier this week, Beshear urged citizens to bring their cases directly to the offices of FEMA employees who are stationed in the area. The governor said “we need to see better results” for more eastern Kentuckians applying to FEMA for recovery assistance. Beshear, a Democrat, raised his concerns with Democratic President Joe Biden during a visit to the region on Monday. During that visit, Biden said the federal government would provide support until residents are on their feet again.

The governor said most of the rejected applications were for people who did not have the necessary documents.

FEMA press secretary Jeremy Edwards responded late Thursday that agency staff would be in the flood-affected area “as long as it takes” to help Kentuckians recover. Edwards said the agency’s management is working to “reduce barriers and cut red tape.”

“If you’ve been denied help, it’s not necessarily the end of the road,” Edwards said. “Something as simple as a missing document can render an application ineligible. The system is not perfect and we know bureaucracy can be frustrating.

If you want to help get help for victims quickly, WDKY-TV, our sister station in Lexington, is organizing efforts with the Kentucky-based nonprofit Appalachian Christian Project. The group is actively engaged in on-the-ground support and could use financial assistance to keep ongoing relief efforts going. If you want to donate, these donations can be made online by clicking here or by mail to:

Appalachian Christian Project
Box 55911
Lexington, Kentucky 40555-5911

“We need volunteers to assess properties, start cleaning, help sort and distribute needed items to families, cook and help in the volunteer accommodation center,” said Becky Neuenschwander, command center coordinator and responsible for the CAP mission groups program for volunteers. “The devastation covers so many counties that we’re going to need help reaching out to families in need.”

The governor announced a funds to help gather resources for those in need.

“All donations to Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund are tax deductible and donors will receive a tax receipt after making a donation. If you would like to donate to the Relief Fund, please select an amount and click on the donate below“, we read on the website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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