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FEMA, debris pickup deadlines loom for flooded eastern Kentuckians

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Ohio Valley ReSource
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Justin Hicks

Two deadlines are looming for eastern Kentuckians this week, three months after devastating flooding.

The FEMA aid application window closes on Friday, Oct. 28, and roadside pickup for debris ends on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Nearly 16,000 in eastern Kentucky applied for help from FEMA. Only a little over half of those families were found eligible for aid.

Those who weren’t approved for FEMA assistance in the 13 flood-stricken eastern Kentucky counties can still appeal the decision after the deadline.

Whitney Bailey is a staff attorney at AppalReD, a legal aid organization helping people navigate FEMA’s assistance programs.

She said people should appeal FEMA assistance denials, even though new applications won’t be accepted after Oct. 28.

“Appeal appeal appeal. And do not give up on appealing. It’s an extremely overwhelming and frustrating process, but most of the time FEMA is just looking for extra documentation,” Bailey said.

Contractors hired by the state will also stop picking up flood debris from the side of the road. Public dump sites close after Nov. 1.

According to data from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, almost 150,000 tons of debris have been removed from right of ways so far and trucks are still picking up dozens of loads of debris in a single day.

Laura Neace was at a public dump site in Whitesburg getting rid of items ruined by the flood. She said it’s still a little early for the public debris collection to end.

“There’s people that are still dragging stuff out of their homes and they’re still trying to rebuild,” she said. “So I mean, I just think it’s too soon.”

Eligible items for pickup include flood damaged materials like drywall, asphalt and furniture; electronic appliances like TVs or computers; household hazardous waste; large appliances and vegetative material.

According to state officials, demolition materials, commercial property debris and private property debris are not eligible for pickup.

Justin Hicks is the data reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource, Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and WFPL.
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