The Kansas Adjutant General's office is trying to turn discouraging news into a positive for people affected by recent tornadoes.
They says tornado damage to homes and other privately-owned property was not large enough to qualify the state for federal individual assistance through FEMA. However, to help people in the hardest-hit counties of Riley and Dickinson, the state is working with the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide federal low-interest SBA loans to repair and replace homes, personal and business property.
“Although the state doesn’t qualify for individual assistance because of the large number of insured properties, we want to find a way to help those who didn’t have insurance or were underinsured,” Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “We’ll continue working with the SBA to ensure low-interest loans are an option.”
In light of the recent storms, the Governor also added six more counties to a Disaster Emergency declaration she signed May 28. The new counties are Brown, Cowley, Dickinson, Marion, Leavenworth and Riley.
The following counties were named in the original declaration dated May 22: Barber, Barton, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Ellis, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearney, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Reno, Republic, Rice, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Saline, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Sedgwick, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita.
The Adjutant General's office says initial damage estimates for those counties indicate the state will qualify for public assistance to reimburse government and non-profit entities for their expenses. A federal declaration for public assistance will be requested once damage estimates are complete.