TOPEKA, Kan. -- In the 10 days since President Bush’s disaster declaration for the State of Kansas on Aug. 3, 2004, federal and state disaster recovery officials have moved on a broad front to speed assistance to communities affected by the June and July severe storms, straight line winds, flooding and tornadoes, recovery officials said today.
The disaster declaration authorizes grants to state and local government agencies and certain non-profit organizations providing a government-like service to reimburse eligible, disaster-related costs and losses.
The declaration does not authorize assistance for individuals, renters or homeowners.
Counties included in the declaration are: Butler, Cherokee, Ellis, Geary, Graham, Jewell, Labette, Lyon, Mitchell, Osborne, Phillips, Rush, Russell, Shawnee, Smith, Trego and Wyandotte. Damage assessments are continuing for infrastructure related losses in other counties.
The grants are authorized under the State of Kansas and Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Program. Grants are made to reimburse eligible, disaster related costs involving debris removal, emergency protective measures and repair or replacement of damaged infrastructure.
FEMA provides for 75 percent of the reimbursements. The other 25 percent is provided by non-federal sources. The State of Kansas administers the program through Kansas Emergency Management (KDEM), a division of The Adjutant General's Department.
To date, FEMA and KDEM have established a Disaster Field Office where about 50 state and federal workers are housed to administer the program. These workers are meeting with local officials to explain the program and determine if the local community needs assistance.
If the community needs assistance, that community will need to submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA), the official document which initiates the grant process. To date, 21 RPAs have been submitted. These initial meetings and RPAs submissions are continuing.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.