No individual assistance available for homeowners through Emergency Declaration

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – President Trump signed an Emergency Declaration for the state of Kansas, but Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials said without the state’s request for individual assistance, homeowners will not receive help with damage and repairs. 

FEMA officials said the state of Kansas would need to request individual assistance first. Then, there would first be a PDA (Preliminary Damage Assessment). Those would be teams of Federal, State, and local officials that would view the impacts from the flooding and severe weather. 

Assistance stemming from the Emergency Declaration takes the shape of Direct Federal Assistance (DFA) provided to the State (as opposed to Individuals) to assist with, if needed; swift water rescues, mass care support through commodities, and technical support for possible logistical/commodity needs according to FEMA officials. 

It’s a problem for many people in our area, especially those without flooding insurance. 

“Scary,” said one Augusta resident. 

That’s the word that came to mind for a resident who did not want to use her name. Her home’s foundation was flooded and the garage, too. The biggest problem, though, is that she doesn’t have flood insurance. 

“It makes me sick and scary,” said the resident. “My most concern is losing everything.”

According to recent polls by the Insurance Information Institute, only about 12 percent of homeowners have flood insurance and officials in all 50 states said they’ve experienced flooding or flash floods in the past five years. 

“I think the reason people don’t get flood insurance is they think, ‘it won’t happen to me,” said David Blanding, owner of Blanding Insurance Agency. 

Blanding said although FEMA has no individual assistance available at this time, homeowners will still need a form of denial from their homeowner’s insurance to move forward if help does open up. 

“Unfortunately on this one, it’s after the fact,” said Blanding. “You need to plan for the next one.”

Blanding said pay attention to what your policy includes and to get it from an agent who is flood-certified. 

Homeowners will now continue working to clean up what the storms left behind, while hoping their families will eventually get some type of help. 

“I feel bad and I can’t do nothing [sic],” said the resident. 

Blanding said flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period before the policy goes into effect. 

FEMA officials encourage home and business owners to report their damage to their county’s emergency management. 

FEMA said it’s best for homeowners at this time, if their house was affected by flooding, to pursue their insurance policies first while Kansas homeowners are not eligible to apply for FEMA assistance. 

To view President Trump’s approved Emergency Declaration for the State of Kansas, click here. 

For Kansans that have been affected by the recent flooding or severe weather and need disaster information or shelter information/referrals, call 211 or 1-800-427-4626. The 211 service is available throughout Kansas.

To find out more information about FEMA and the assistance the agency offers, click here.

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