Kansas City, MO -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that over $444,000 in federal funds have been made available to help construct safe rooms in the Wichita, Kan. schools.
The safe rooms are designed to protect children and teachers from the severe storms that produce high winds and deadly tornadoes that so frequently threaten this area of the state.
The city of Wichita is located in Sedgwick County, a designated "Project Impact Community".
Project Impact is a national FEMA initiative that encourages communities to assess their risks from natural hazards before disasters strike to implement strategies and actions that will limit damage and save lives.
The $444,762 grant represents FEMA's contribution to the safe room project. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $523,250. The local community will contribute $78,488 with the state globally matching the remainder of the non-federal match requirement.
Beth Freeman, director of FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., said that the funds would come through FEMA's Unmet Needs Program, which provides 75 percent of the funds for approved projects that lessen or eliminate the loss of lives and property in future disasters. The remaining 25 percent must come from non-federal sources.
These federal funds came from a special appropriation from Congress for unmet needs that were a direct result from the severe storms and flooding that resulted in a Presidential disaster declaration for the state of Kansas in 1998.
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 will receive funding from FEMA.