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FEMA reimburses Kentucky Division of Emergency Management for flood debris removal


More than $11 million in federal dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance program has been approved to reimburse debris removal efforts during last year’s eastern Kentucky flooding.

That includes debris caused by last summer’s storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides.

Last fall, FEMA removed more than 60,000 tons of debris from waterways and public properties. That includes 31,749 tons of vegetative debris, 22,359 tons of construction and demolition debris and 6,805 tons of sand, soil or mud.

2,586 leaning trees and seven limbs were also removed.

“Every disaster is unique and in Eastern Kentucky, just the topography of the land is very unique,” FEMA representative Kim Fuller said. “So a lot of times during disasters, we have to be very creative in how we do these debris removal programs.”

The amount of debris removed amounted to the size of a football field. Fuller called it an “arduous task” for the contractors involved.

“Over the course of over a month, debris would be put out on a curb or such and then it'd be picked up, but then you might see debris out on the curb again,” Fuller said.
“And that means that debris teams had to continuously go back to the same community to pick up.”

The reimbursement to the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management was funded completely at the federal level because of the scope of the project.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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