TOPEKA, Kan. -- Gov. Sam Brownback (R - Kan.) sent a letter April 10 to President Barack Obama requesting a federal disaster declaration to assist 23 affected counties in recovering damages and clean-up costs associated with the severe winter storm that swept across most of the state Feb. 20-23.
Counties named in the request are Barber, Barton, Dickinson, Ellis, Franklin, Harper, Hodgeman, Kingman, Marion, McPherson, Ness, Osage, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rice, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Smith, Stafford, and Sumner.
“As expected, this storm system placed a financial toll on a number of counties,” said Brownback. “This request for federal Public Assistance funds will help eligible counties recoup some of those costs.”
FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides funding to state and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. The letter also asks for activation of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program statewide.
The winter storm generated record amounts of snowfall in many areas and included high winds, blowing and drifting snow. Preliminary damage assessments conducted in March documented approximately $4.4 million in eligible costs and damages.
“Although the snow is long gone, the effects remain,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. “With storm season now upon us, many of these same counties may be faced with additional costs from new thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes and other springtime weather events. Federal assistance will help these counties to close the books on the winter storm before they are hit again.”
The request was made under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5208 (Stafford Act), and implemented by 44 CFR § 206.36. The letter was submitted through the FEMA Region VII office in Kansas City, Mo.