KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that more than $1.5 million ($1,567,137) in federal funds has been made available to the city of Wichita for a project that will reduce the risks of future flood losses.
John A. Miller, director of FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., said that the funds would be provided through FEMA's Unmet Needs Program to purchase and demolish 15 residential structures within the floodplain of Calfskin and Cowskin Creeks. These structures were damaged during the flooding event of November 1, 1998.
"FEMA's goal is to help reduce the potential of future flood damage and the corresponding human suffering," Miller said. "Kansas communities continue to join in this partnership in a concerted effort to develop disaster resistant communities."
The $1,567,137 grant represents FEMA's contribution to the project. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $1,843,690.
The city's goals for this voluntary acquisition project include public safety and floodplain management. This project will remove families out of harms way, reduce the risks to emergency workers, and help the community meet their responsibilities for floodplain management and stay in good standing with the National Flood Insurance Program. When the acquisition project is complete the city plans on using the land for a recreational park and/or a wildlife sanctuary.
"Removing people from harm's way and protecting facilities that provide essential services are important steps in making a community more resistant to future disasters," Miller said. "I commend the state of Kansas and the city of Wichita for their efforts."
The state of Kansas, through the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, and the local community will administer and disperse the federal funds. The state determines which projects are submitted to FEMA for funding. The local units of government submit the projects to the state and determine the order in which the individual structures are purchased.
Last month FEMA approved a similar project for the city to purchase and demolish five additional residential structures in the floodplain of the same two creeks. The federal share of that project is $514,191, with an estimated total project cost of $604,930. These structures were also damaged during the November 1998 flooding event.
"The approval of these projects resulted from a cooperative effort with the city of Wichita, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management and FEMA," Miller said. "This is an example of what can be accomplished when local, state and federal governments work as partners to solve problems."
FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and Unmet Needs Program provide 75% of the funds for approved projects that lessen or eliminate the loss of lives and property in future disasters. The remaining 25% must be provided from non-federal sources.
These federal unmet needs funds are available as a result of the two Presidential disaster declarations for the state of Kansas in 1998 and 1999. The first was for severe storms and flooding in October and November 1998, and the second for tornadoes and severe storms that impacted Kansas in May 1999.