The recovery and rebuilding effort in the wake of tornadoes and severe weather that ripped through much of the state on April 14 is going well according to the office of Gov. Sam Brownback.
A state of disaster emergency was declared to activate disaster response and authorize emergency assistance to affected areas. Counties included in disaster area are:
Barber, Barton, Butler, Chase, Clay, Comanche, Dickinson, Edwards, Ellsworth, Geary, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kingman, Kiowa, Lincoln, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Mitchell, Morris, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pratt, Rice, Riley, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sedgwick, Sumner, Stafford, and Wabaunsee Counties.
"After the storm, emergency responders, local governments and the state's emergency management team responded quickly and professionally," Gov. Brownback said. "The rebuilding will take time and patience, but the state will continue to do what it can to help the storm-ravaged communities work to repair and rebuild so they can get on their feet and back to normal."
Among the hardest hit with storm damage was the Oaklawn area of Wichita, where an EF-3 tornado left almost 400 people in need of food and housing assistance. The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitative SErvicws had more than 20 staff members set up and work emergency response centers in that area.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management communicated before, during and after the storms with county emergency managers regarding storm damage and response needs.
The Small Business Administration has begun taking applications for low-interest federal loans to help homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit groups to repair and replace damaged or destroyed property. The loans are available in Sedgwick, Butler, Cowley, Harvey, Kingman, Reno and Sumner counties. KDEM and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are continuing to assess damage to determine if government and non-profit entities impacted by the storms will be eligible for federal assistance.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment waived fees to replace marriage and birth certificates. KDHE's Bureau of Waste Management provided assistance involving some prompt modifications to operating plans and use of disposal areas, and the Bureau of Environmental Field Services worked with the city of Wichita to approve a new tree and brush site at the wastewater treatment plant.
The Kansas Department of Revenue waived fees for those impacted by the tornadoes who needed to replace driver's licenses, identification cards and vehicle tags. Additionally, the department granted an extension for filing state income taxes if requested and will waive penalties on late business taxes. The department will also replace tax documents without charge.
The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation is working in a collaborative effort with a variety of organizations to assess the housing needs of dozens of families and provide housing assistance to affected residents.