- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear has asked for a federal disaster declaration in eastern Kentucky following heavy rains that caused flooding, washed out roads and forced people from their homes.

If the disaster declaration is approved, it would provide federal funding to help with cleanup efforts.

Storms hit the eastern part of the state on Aug. 19-23, with the counties of Floyd, Knott, Johnson and Pike being hit the hardest.

“These severe storms and subsequent flooding caused widespread destruction to the state and community infrastructure in Floyd, Knott, Johnson and Pike counties, as well as to private homes,” Gov. Beshear said in his letter. “I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments. Federal assistance is necessary to supplement the efforts and available resources of the state, local governments, disaster relief organizations and compensation by insurance for disaster-related losses.”

The statement from Beshear’s office on Tuesday said a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment conducted by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency found more than $6 million in damages.

The request for a disaster declaration is the first the state has made since tornadoes hit a section of eastern Kentucky in 2012 causing massive damage.

U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers also sent a letter urging President Obama to give the request “the timely and serious consideration that it deserves.”

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