KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- President Clinton, today, declared Sedgwick County a federal disaster area for the second time in six months.
On the evening of May 3, a fast moving storm system brought heavy rain, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes to South-Central Kansas, devestating areas in and around Sedgwick County. After learning of the extent of the damage, James Lee Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said, "Our hearts and our prayers go out the citizens of Kansas who have been struck by the second disaster in six months."
Residents and business owners in Sedgwick County who were affected by the severe storms and tornadoes starting on May 3, 1999, now are eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance, according to state and federal recovery officials.
Registrations for disaster assistance can begin immediately by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-462-9029. For those who are hearing or speech impaired, the number is 1-800-462-7585. The call is free and recovery specialists can take registrations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
Because of the heavy number of calls for assistance by disaster survivors in many other states, residents are asked to try again if they first get a busy signal. Callers should be prepared to provide the following information: name, social security number, income, insurance coverage, address of the damaged property and a phone number where they currently can be reached.
"We encourage those who have sustained damage to call us and get the process going so we can get help to them as soon as possible," said John A. Miller, regional director of FEMA's Region VII office in Kansas City, Missouri.
The assistance programs include: grants for short-term rental needs; grants to make minimal home repairs; low-interest U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to repair major damage and/or replace damaged personal property; grants to meet serious disaster-related needs not covered by other programs, and disaster unemployment assistance.
Miller added that renters, as well as homeowners, can apply for state and federal help.