, Corbin, KY

CNHI Special Projects

May 6, 2013

Property owners, insurers pay bulk of disaster-related costs

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Floods, tornadoes and earthquakes — these are natural disasters which have affected the Tri-County region.

So far this year, flooding has been a big issue for Knox, Laurel and Whitley counties.

While those killed and injured obviously pay the immediate price when natural disasters strike, who pays for it long-term?

“Most of the cost is paid by the property owners and the insurance companies,” said Danny Moses, Whitley County Emergency Management Director. “Counties and cities do pay for some repairs if the damage is to public property.”

With flood waters ravaging the region in April, Gov. Steve Beshear declared Knox, Laurel and Whitley counties among a dozen counties in a state of emergency.

“The declaration is a part of the process to identify what assistance is needed in these counties because of the storms,” Beshear said. Beshear requested FEMA and the Kentucky Emergency Management to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments in the 12 counties, including the Tri-County area, to determine if Kentucky would qualify for federal assistance.

That, according to Moses, can aid in bringing recovery monies to the Tri-County.

“FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) does help governments offset some of the cost,” Moses said. “If it is a federally-declared disaster and if the damages meet the cost threshold.”

Knox County Emergency Management Director Mike Mitchell agreed that flooding has been a big issue so far this year. “We have a lot of residents who live in areas which are prone to flooding,” Mitchell said.

However, he explained much of the flooding experienced in Knox County is short-lived.

“For the most part, it is the areas that experience flash flooding where the water rises rapidly, then recedes quickly,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the bulk of the price tag gets paid by the residents and taxpayers.

“Floods are expensive to residents and taxpayers,” he said. “(That’s) because of costs of clean-up, and repairs to homes and public infrastructure.”

Mitchell added that could include removal of damaged roads, washed-out bridges, and debris.

Moses said individual costs could be high. “The cost to individuals would be their insurance deductible,” Moses said. “Or the cost of repairs if they do not have insurance.”

Taxpayers most often foot the bill for damages. “The cost to taxpayers would be the money the county spends in making repairs to roads and drainage tiles before and after the storm,” Moses said.

Moses said Whitley County tries to stay ahead of potential hazards. “This is an ongoing effort for Whitley County,” he said. “Our crews work daily to make sure all possible flooding issues are addressed before they become a hazard.”

Being prepared is the key, he said. “Whitley County works on preparedness daily,” Moses said. “We have formed a Local Emergency Preparedness Committee (LEPC). The committee is responsible for putting together a plan to deal with the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster.”

Whitley County Projects Director Amber Owens agreed. “Whitley County is always working to ensure that the county and its residents are prepared when disaster strikes,” Owens said. “We are very active in continuing education courses offered through FEMA.”

Owens said the county works with FEMA before and after a disaster. “We also apply for various grants through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Office to try and prevent, and to help clean-up, after a storm,” she said. “We are getting ready to apply for a grant to begin an educational campaign on emergency preparedness.”

County costs come before and after a disaster. “As far as a dollar figure, man hours and salaries are the biggest part of that,” Owens said. “The money spent before the disaster is used to train personnel and to mitigate possible areas of concern.”

Owens said while the county strives to be prepared for disaster, one community is ready. “In our area, the community best prepared in the event of a disaster is the City of Corbin,” Owens said. “Their personnel do an excellent job training and planning for events.”

Mitchell said Knox County residents are aware and ready for disasters. “For the most part, residents living in flood prone areas are aware of the hazards they are faced with,” Mitchell said.

He added that the county has a plan.

“Knox County has a Emergency Operation plan in place that deals with sheltering residents who would be displaced in a disaster event if that were ever necessary,” Mitchell said. “The communities that experience flooding more commonly than others rely on their local volunteer fire departments to assist with evacuations when, and if, that becomes necessary.”

Text Only
CNHI Special Projects
  • Is Kentucky all shook up?

    Shortly after noon on Saturday, Nov. 10, the ground shook all over the Tri-County region.

    May 29, 2013

  • Preparing for mid-America earthquake

    It’s a bleak scenario. A massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault kills or injures 60,000 people in Tennessee.

    May 29, 2013

  • Norman-Tornado16.jpg Audio: How can we better prepare for tornadoes?

    An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.

    May 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • Norman-Tornado08.jpg Photos: Aftermath of massive tornado in Moore Storm victims were pulled from the rubble and residents began surveying the damage late Monday and early Tuesday in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, where a powerful tornado destroyed entire neighborhoods and left dozens dead.

    May 21, 2013

  • More options, several ways to be alerted

    Getting the word out about severe weather and other disasters has come a long way from the Cold War era of the 1950s and early 1960s.

    May 20, 2013

  • Technology speeds disaster alerts, response

    Caitria O’Neill remembers her reaction to hearing tornado warnings on June 1, 2011. She went to the grocery store, she said, “because I live in Massachusetts, and we don’t get tornadoes.”

    May 20, 2013

  • MainStory5.IndyQuakeDrill.jpg The Big One: Preparing for mid-America earthquake

    It’s a bleak scenario. A massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault kills or injures 60,000 people in Tennessee. A quarter of a million people are homeless.

    May 19, 2013 3 Photos 3 Stories

  • screenshot salmon.jpg VIDEO: How sequestration could affect US flood warning system

    Oregon and Idaho each had to shut down three water gauges due to automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration. Watch how Idaho relies on these water gauges, from tracking drought conditions to determining stream levels for salmon.

    May 15, 2013 1 Photo

  • Preparation now is priceless, when seconds count later

    For most of us, we don’t think about disaster preparation until after it strikes. We read, see and hear the vivid images of destruction and suffering that plays in print, online, on TV and on radio. Those moments can stay seared in our minds for days or forever.

    May 13, 2013

  • Veterans of tornadoes balance preparedness and practicality

    Few things in nature are less predictable than a tornado. They can form quickly. They strike weirdly, leveling one building while leaving its neighbor untouched. They can fling a car a half-mile and turn a piece of lumber into a wall-piercing missile.

    May 13, 2013

Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station My name is Cocaine Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter