WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced yesterday that federal disaster aid has been made available for people in three Kansas counties victimized by floods and other extreme weather earlier this month.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said President Clinton authorized the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued late yesterday afternoon. The declaration covers damage from severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that hit the state October 1-8.
Immediately after the President's action, Witt designated the counties of Johnson, Seward and Wyandotte eligible for federal aid to supplement the recovery needs of stricken residents and business owners.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing needs, minor home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
In addition, Witt said the declaration makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that damage surveys are continuing and additional counties and other forms of federal aid may be designated later based on the results of the assessments.
Carolyn J. Coleman, of FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., was named by Witt to coordinate the federal relief effort. Coleman said affected residents and business owners in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process today, October 15, by calling 1-800-462-9029, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.