TOPEKA, Kansas -- Additional federal disaster aid will be available for infrastructure repairs in 42 of the 44 western Kansas counties stricken by December’s severe winter storm, disaster recovery officials said today.
The additional assistance will include grants for repair of roads and bridges; repair of water control facilities; repair or replacement of buildings, equipment and vehicles; repair of utilities (water systems, electric power facilities and sewage treatment facilities); repair and restoration of parks and recreational facilities.
Eleven counties in the northwest corner of Kansas also are eligible for reimbursement of snow clearing costs during and after the December 28-31storm. To qualify for federal reimbursement for snow clearing, snowfall in the local jurisdiction must have totaled 90 percent or more of a record snowfall, as determined by the National Weather Service. Those counties are Cheyenne, Decatur, Greeley, Logan, Morton, Rawlins, Sherman, Stanton, Thomas, Wallace and Wichita.
Recovery officials estimate storm damages at more than $362 million in the 44 counties, with $352 million of that in damage to electric utilities, principally rural electric cooperatives which are eligible for federal disaster assistance.
The 42 counties eligible for the additional disaster aid are Cheyenne, Clark, Decatur, Edwards, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kiowa, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita.
Damage assessments conducted by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) and the Federal Emergency management Agency (FEMA) found that damage in Comanche and Stafford counties was not enough to trigger federal assistance in the additional categories. They will be eligible for public assistance grants, but only for storm-related debris removal and emergency protective measures they took to reduce or remove threats to life, health or safety, or to reduce or remove hazards threatening damage to property.
FEMA assistance for the Dec. 28-31 winter storm in Kansas is limited to public assistance. FEMA’s public assistance grant program provides assistance to states local governments, and certain non-profit organizations for repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly owned facilities and facilities of qualified non-profit organizations. FEMA pays 75 percent of eligible costs. The grantee (usually the state) determines how the non-federal share is split with the eligible applicants.
There was not enough damage to warrant Individual Assistance grants. Individuals, farmers and ranchers who need assistance should contact the Kansas Rural Family Helpline at 866-327-6578.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.