WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Governor Laura Kelly’s request for a federal disaster declaration in Kansas has been granted by President Joe Biden. The request comes after severe winter storms passed through the state back in late March.
Each storm produced sticky wet, heavy snow combined with strong winds of 50 to 70 mph that damaged power poles and power lines, causing power outages.
Biden ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected.
“This federal disaster declaration will enable rural electric cooperatives to access the funding they need to get back on their feet,” said Kelly.
Rural electric cooperatives will now be allowed to apply for public assistance funds for emergency and permanent work for the repair or replacement, of infrastructure, including utility lines, damaged by the disaster. It will also activate the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program statewide for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
Counties named in the declaration are Barton, Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Ellis, Ford, Graham, Gray, Hodgeman, Kiowa, Lane, Meade, Ness, Pawnee, Phillips, Rooks, Rush, Stafford, Trego, and Wallace.
“Our staff in the Kansas Division of Emergency Management will be working closely with the counties named in the declaration,” Maj. Gen. David Weishaar, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator named DuWayne Tewes as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas.