Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed a letter to President George W. Bush earlier this week, requesting federal assistance to help Kansans recover from the effects of the severe ice storms that hit the state Jan. 3-5, which left thousands without power.
“Kansas is well-known for its tornadoes, but our winter storms are not to be taken lightly, either,” said Sebelius. “The damage may not be as dramatically destructive as a tornado, but it is much more wide-spread, encompassing huge areas of our state and affecting thousands.”
Sebelius and Maj. Gen. (KS) Tod Bunting, the adjutant general and director of Kansas Emergency Management, toured areas near Wichita earlier this month and saw first-hand the damage caused by the severe ice storms that blanketed much of central and eastern Kansas.
The governor’s initial request seeks assistance for 32 of the 56 Kansas counties that were named in a State of Disaster Emergency she declared on Jan. 3. The counties named in the presidential request are Anderson, Atchison, Barber, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Clark, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Douglas, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Jefferson, Kingman, Lyon, Marion, Morris, Osage, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Woodson and Wyandotte. These counties qualified to be included in the governor’s request this week.
The total eligible damages in these 32 counties has reached nearly $39 million. Preliminary Damage Assessment teams continue to verify damages in other counties named in the governor’s state declaration and some of the remaining counties may be added to the presidential request if they are deemed eligible.
Sebelius asked for the Public Assistance program to restore damaged infrastructure under Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 288, as amended, and implemented by 44 CFR Part 206.36(d). These damages include such things as power lines and poles and extensive debris. Power has been restored to all affected areas, although many of the repairs are temporary measures.
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