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Bowling Green Mayor says FEMA plans to open 'one-stop' claims site at mall

Lisa Autry

FEMA inspectors are in Bowling Green making plans to open a “one-stop shop” claims center for residents impacted by the recent storms and deadly tornado, according to Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott.

President Biden covered storm-damaged parts of Kentucky with an emergency disaster declaration last weekend, saying the federal government will do everything it can to assist the state after the tornado outbreak. Alcott said Wednesday he’s hoping FEMA will have the center open at the old Sears store at the Bowling Green Mall by the end of next week.

But he added residents don’t have to wait for the center’s opening to apply for help.

“Claims can happen right now,” Alcott said. “Because the President signed the order, people can go ahead and start saying, ‘Hey, I lost this. Hey, I lost that.’ All that can be registered right now with FEMA online.”

The federal website where residents in disaster areas can ask for help is here.Alcott says the loss of life, homes, and businesses in the Bowling Green area has led to an outpouring of generosity from many people wanting to lend a helping hand. But the mayor is also asking for an end to random, bulk donations of items. Alcott says while those who are driving to damaged neighborhoods or shelters and dropping off items mean well, they’re also unintentionally burdening stressed residents and volunteers.

Alcott asked those wanting a volunteer job to go to the Western Kentucky University Center for Research and Development on Nashville Road, where a coordinated effort is underway to assign volunteers to specific jobs.

“It’s been chain-sawing, it’s been putting debris in a single collection, it’s been putting limbs in a single collection,” Alcott said. “Let’s say we’re at the Red Cross and we have a family that needs transportation to a hotel because we got them lodging for x-amount of nights, then go pick them up.”

You can find more information about how to help residents in need after the tornadoes here.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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