Last week, President George W. Bush approved Governor Kathleen Sebelius' request for a federal disaster declaration for Kansas counties affected by flooding. The disaster declaration has been amended to include 20 counties, for which FEMA has approved reimbursements to local and state government and some non-profit organizations for certain measures taken prior to and during the flooding which began June 29.
"I appreciate President Bush's quick response to our request for assistance," said Sebelius. "These federal funds will enable us to help counties affected by the floods restore vital infrastructure.
"We're still working to get federal assistance for individual Kansans, which is a request I reiterated this morning with FEMA Director, David Paulison. Director Paulison was in Kansas twice for the Greensburg disaster and is well aware of the flooding disaster in southeast Kansas.
The response was due earlier this week, says Sebelius, who addressed members of the media on July 5.
"Today, Kansas' Adjutant General and Emergency Management Director, Major General Tod Bunting, and FEMA officials are reassessing the flood damage in several southeast Kansas counties. Accompanying them are our two Kansas senators and their support for a prompt FEMA response is much appreciated.
"I've also asked General Bunting to identify two locations in southeast Kansas for 30-day disaster recovery centers, similar to what we set up after the Greensburg tornado, which were very effective. Having a 'one-stop shop' where Kansans impacted by these disasters can go for assistance with state, federal, and private services is very helpful. Given the large 20-county area affected by the floods, it is likely that we will also have mobile units out to assist citizens in their home areas."
The Governor has asked that the Legislative Coordinating Council, created to monitor the Greensburg recovery effort, be expanded to include members of the southeast Kansas delegation and that the scope of the oversight also be expanded to include both areas of the state.
Sebelius has also called together key cabinet secretaries to brief legislative leaders on the recovery efforts underway in southeast Kansas.
"We have responded to local requests for state services in law enforcement, search and rescue efforts, issues with health and environment concerns, transportation efforts and moving supplies into key areas," Sebelius says.
The counties included in the federal declaration are Anderson, Allen, Butler, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Osage, Wilson and Woodson.