OWENSBORO, Ky. -- During the first several days of recovery operations, state, local and federal disaster officials have accelerated their efforts to bring relief to people and businesses who suffered tornado and flooding damages from the storm system that plowed through Western Kentucky on January 3-4.
A disaster recovery center (DRC) opened at noon Tuesday this week at the Daviess County Courthouse in Owensboro. The center serves all four counties - Crittenden, Webster and Hopkins, as well as Daviess-designated last week as a major disaster area by President Clinton. The facility, which is to remain open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until further notice, will be a source of information for storm victims who have questions about available help programs. Federal, state, local and volunteer agency officials will staff the DRC.
Only five days after President Clinton's declaration of a major disaster in the state, the first disaster relief checks were in the mail, said W.R. Padgett, Director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.
Almost a quarter of a million dollars has been distributed through federal programs, including disaster housing grants and Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans. As of Tuesday morning, $84,203 in grants had gone to 92 applicants for temporary housing and emergency essential repairs, and $142,700 in low-interest loans to five homeowners from the SBA. In many cases, this will just be the initial assistance that applicants will receive.
Thus far, seven applicants in Crittenden County have been issued a total of $17,309 in grants, four residents in Webster will receive $11,915, and 81 applicants in Daviess will get $54,977. The county breakdown for low-interest loans was not available at press time.
DISASTER ASSISTANCE SUMMARY
Meantime, more than 750 people and business owners who suffered losses in the tornadoes and flooding already have sought assistance by registering for aid on the FEMA toll-free registration line, 1-800-462-9029. The number will continue to be available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
Daviess County has provided the largest number of applicants for federal assistance. So far, Daviess had registered 680 applicants for some form of disaster assistance, 50 had filed from Crittenden, 18 from Webster, and 6 from Hopkins.