Beshear asks Obama to hurry up with disaster aid

03/05/2012 07:33 AM

As the death toll from Friday’s storms reached 21 in Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear urged the president to declare a disaster in the commonwealth to speed up the aid process.

The level of damage must reach certain thresholds in order for a state to receive full federal aid.

“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 in a statement Sunday.

The storm killed seven people in Morgan County and crushed West Liberty’s downtown. Five people died in Laurel County as the community of East Bernstadt got hammered. And three people died in Piner in southern Kenton County, which was hit hard as well . In addition, the storm killed two people in Meniffee County, two in Johnson County and two in Lawrence County.

Beshear took a phone call from President Barack Obama while he was surveying the damage in Piner on Saturday. The governor said he spoke again with Obama on Sunday, as well as Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who oversees FEMA.

Millions of dollars in federal aid will be needed to help the local governments, businesses and homeowners most affected by the storms, Beshear said.

“For those families, it’s going to take a while to get back on their feet,” Beshear said Saturday after seeing the devastated areas in West Liberty and Piner.

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