Bush Declares Disaster Area in Much of Kansas

Winter storm havoc prompts Presidential Declaration.

The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Friday that federal disaster aid has been made available for Kansas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe winter storms during the period of December 6 - 19, 2007.

FEMA Administrator David Paulison said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Bush. The President's action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storm, which affected several counties:

Atchison, Barber, Barton, Brown, Butler, Chase, Cherokee, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Comanche, Crawford, Dickinson, Doniphan, Edwards, Ellis, Ellsworth, Ford, Geary, Graham, Harvey, Hodgeman, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewell, Kingman, Kiowa, Labette, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Miami, Mitchell, Morris, Nemaha, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Republic, Rice, Riley, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Stafford, Wabaunsee, Washington, and Woodson counties.

The federal declaration clears the way for necessary public assistance to state and local governments. Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties and tribes within the state.

Paulison named Thomas A. Hall the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Hall said additional designations and types of assistance may be made at a later date after further evaluation.

"The President's declaration means Kansas communities will receive much needed help with cleanup and recovery efforts," says First District Congressman Jerry Moran. "This assistance is welcome news to many Kansans."

Today's emergency designation is for Categories A and B under the Public Assistance program, which authorizes FEMA to provide assistance to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities at a 75% federal and 25% local and state cost-share.

Assistance for State and Local Governments
The FEMA assistance provisions include as required:

• Payment of not less than 75% of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

• Payment of not less than 75% of the eligible costs for removing debris from public areas and for emergency measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

• Payment of not more than 75% of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by tribal, state, and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

How to Apply
Application procedures for local governments will be explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved public repair projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

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