(LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear was visibly frustrated this afternoon about part of FEMA's response to the disaster caused by eastern Kentucky flooding.
"I want them to talk to the grandmother who was pulled out of her vehicle as it was being swept away. Her house already gone, her vehicle now gone. All she's got is what's on her. And you're going to say she doesn't qualify for what," said Beshear.
"If I sound frustrated, it's not that I'm not grateful. It's that these people need help."
He says the agency is doing great things on a wide scale, but that he's hearing too many cases of people with real need being denied individual aid.
He's now asking FEMA to take a second look at some of those cases that were rejected.
FEMA gives a statement after Beshear's comments.
“FEMA has been on the ground since the first flood warnings came in, and as President Biden stated alongside Administrator Criswell earlier this week, we will be here to help Kentuckians recover from this disaster for as long as it takes. We want to get this right—we will get this right—and that’s why we are meeting survivors where they are to help them with applications for assistance, documentation submissions and referrals to other agencies and volunteer organizations.
“If you were denied assistance, that is not necessarily the end of the road. Something as simple as a missing document can cause an application to be deemed ineligible. The system isn’t perfect, and we know that the bureaucracy can be frustrating. Under the leadership for Administrator Criswell, FEMA is actively working to reduce barriers and cut red tape across all of our programs. But in the meantime, FEMA is calling applicants to help them get back on the road to recovery, and we encourage anyone who may have been initially denied to call us back or visit a nearby Disaster Recovery Center where FEMA personnel will work with you to figure out what we need to continue working on your application.
“We know these are incredibly difficult times, and we want to help you. We will continue to work to ensure that every eligible applicant receives every dollar of assistance legally possible.”