The Kansas National Guard is using Black Hawk helicopters on Thursday to feed stranded cattle today in western Kansas following severe winter storms that blanketed much of Western Kansas starting Dec. 28.
Ranchers who have stranded cattle and are unable to get feed or water to them are asked to contact Kansas Emergency Management at (785) 274-1446, or log onto www.ksready.gov and click on the "Ag Emergency" icon.
"We have been working diligently to ensure the people of western Kansas have what they need and we also want to make sure we protect the state's economic interests," says Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, Kansas adjutant general.
Two Black Hawk helicopters from the 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation flew from Goodland on Thursday to move hay in the Wallace, Logan and Cheyenne counties. The 137th Transportation Company is also involved in hauling hay to affected areas using flatbed trailers and other large vehicles.
A number of other Kansas National Guard units are assisting with power restoration and other missions across the affected areas, including the 891st Engineer Battalion; 778th Transportation Company; 1st Battalion, 635th Armor; 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery, 169th Corps Support Battalion; 69th Troop Command; 287th Sustainment Brigade; 995th Maintenance Company; 235th Regiment, 170th Maintenance Company; 184th Air Refueling Wing, 134th Air Control Squadron and 190th Air Refueling Wing.
About 130 Kansas National Guard personnel are involved in these missions. Additional personnel are coordinating these efforts at the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka.
As of Jan. 4, 23,000 electric meters serving western Kansas homes and businesses were out of service.
The Kansas National Guard is also providing emergency generators and operation personnel to some communities to provide power to water treatment plants and other critical facilities. These generators are being moved to other locations as power is restored.
Command posts are being established at the armories in Garden City and Hays to direct activities of responding Guard units.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations Center Dec. 28 and it will remain activated throughout the storm to coordinate the response and recovery needed by local governments impacted by the storm.
Governor Sebelius has requested a federal declaration and an agricultural declaration of disaster for a 44 county area. A state declaration was issued Dec. 30 and amended to included additional counties as the storm progressed.
Counties in the disaster declaration area include: Cheyenne, Clark, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Gove, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kiowa, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, and Wichita.