President George W. Bush issued a federal disaster declaration Friday for areas in Kansas affected by December's winter storm.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and members of the Kansas Congressional delegation requested the declaration. Several Kansas counties were affected by the severe ice storms that swept the state beginning Dec. 6th and continuing through Dec. 19th. Six deaths are blamed on the storm. In addition, two other people were hospitalized and 11 more injuries were reported.
More than 183,000 customers were without power at the height of the storms. It took several weeks to get all the power restored.
"I appreciate the President's authorization of our request that will help those counties impacted by the December storms," Sebelius said in a statement. "It seems we've had more than our fair share of these requests over the past year, but at least we're getting the federal support to assist with recovery."
Friday's declaration means local governments and certain non-profit agencies can apply to FEMA for reimbursement of costs such as emergency protective measures, debris removal, repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities including roads and bridges, water systems, buildings, equipment, utilities, parks and recreation facilities and other items.
The Kansas Adjutant General's office estimates damages to public infrastructure resulting from the December storm totaled in excess of $170 million with approximately $148 million of that in damages to Kansas Rural Electric Cooperatives and municipal utilities.
The state also plans to pursue loans through the Small Business Administration due to the number of commercial losses with the grocery and nursery businesses.
The 60 counties are eligible for the Public Assistance Program reimbursements:
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, McPherson, Marion, Marshall, 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.