Beshear creates advisory council to guide disaster responses
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — In a state hit by devastating tornadoes and flooding within a span of several months, a new and diverse advisory council will help guide responses to natural disasters and prepare communities for any future crisis, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.
Beshear signed an executive order creating the Council for Community Recovery and Resiliency. It will include representatives from a wide range of state and federal agencies.
The goal is to provide comprehensive guidance for communities recovering from disasters and make them more resilient against “whatever might hit us next,” the governor said.
“It’s clear that we are experiencing an increase in natural disasters with major impacts on our families and our communities,” Beshear said during his weekly news conference. “To be better prepared and more resilient, so we can respond and recover faster, I’m combining efforts of state, local and federal actors to be in a permanent group, working together not just to recover from these two major natural disasters we have been through, but to prepare for the future.”
Tornadoes killed scores of people and leveled portions of towns in western Kentucky in December. In late July, historic floodwaters inundated parts of eastern Kentucky, leaving dozens more dead. A full recovery is expected to take years in the hardest-hit areas.
The council’s objective is to ensure that wide-ranging government agencies respond as a “coordinated team” in helping communities recover from natural disasters, said Kentucky Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker. The goal is to accelerate recovery efforts that can stretch for years, he said.
“There will be no silos,” Slinker said at the news conference. “There will be nobody working alone. We’ll all be working toward the same efforts and coordinating that together.”
Communities that are better prepared and more resilient recover “faster and stronger” from disasters, Beshear’s executive order says.
The advisory council will provide “overall leadership and guidance” for community recovery and resiliency planning in the state, the order states. The council’s member agencies will provide financial and technical assistance to local recovery and resiliency planning teams.
Among its roles, the council will lead efforts to improve building codes and land development codes, the order says. The council will be attached to the state Division of Emergency Management.