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Recovery progress six-months after deadly tornadoes devastated Western Kentucky

Kentucky tornadoes
Posted at 2:24 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 15:24:24-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVF) — Ahead of the six-month anniversary of the December tornadoes that devastated Western Kentucky, the state is sharing the progress they've made toward providing relief and recovery support to those impacted by the storms.

To date, it's estimated that federal, state and Red Cross efforts totaled more than $193.4 million, with the Commonwealth of Kentucky efforts representing more than $108 million.

More than 2,500 people have been housed through emergency programs.

“Tomorrow will be a special day when we celebrate the progress we’ve made, but we also will continue to remember and lift up the 81 lives lost and their families and communities,” said Gov. Beshear. “I will never forget the promise I made to the people of Western Kentucky the morning after the tornadoes hit, which is that we will be there until every home and life is rebuilt. We are keeping that promise. We not only have made substantial progress, but we are also continuing our efforts to ensure these communities have a hopeful, bright future.”

Through the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, more than $52 million was raised from donations and more than $26 million in disbursements have been made so far. This funding has gone toward things like funeral expenses, support for uninsured homeowners and renters and nonprofit home builders.

In May, Governor Beshear announced that $16 million from the fund would be used to help provide up to 300 homes for families whose homes were lost to the storms.

In the month prior, a bill was signed into law which provided $56 million in assistance to assist shelter victims, support impacted schools and provide local rebuilding assistance.

“These funds will help cover expenses and services that are not eligible for FEMA aid, and they will help ease some of the financial burdens that these communities have endured,” the Governor said.

To date, $9 million has been approved and spent for travel trailers and $9.5 million has been awarded to schools, providing wrap-around services for students and their families.

This funding also helps support after-school services and activities, mental health counseling services and outside-of-school tutoring as well as transportation needs and construction or repairs of school building facilities either destroyed or damaged.

In terms of services not eligible for FEMA support, $37.5 million has been awarded to impacted counties to cover those services and to ease some of the financial strain.

$16.3 million of that was awarded today via SAFE funding:

  • $1.2 million for land survey costs to the city of Dawson Springs;
  • $15 million for financial assistance to Mayfield Electric & Water Systems; and
  • More than $61,000 for financial assistance and nearly $115,000 for wet debris removal to Muhlenberg County.

There is still more than $80 million in SAFE Funds remaining to be distributed.