For immediate release: February 9, 2005
Nicole Corcoran   785.368.8500

Presidential Disaster Declaration Authorized for Kansas
Counties Hit by January Ice Storm

TOPEKA, Kan. - Late Tuesday evening, the State of Kansas was informed that President George W. Bush has declared a major disaster for 32 Kansas counties for the period of January 4-6, 2005, triggering the release of federal funds to help communities recover from severe winter storms.

"I am pleased we have received this declaration for our communities hit so hard by January's storms. Federal assistance will go a long way towards helping the communities impacted by this storm, and I want to thank the President for this action," the Governor said.

The counties named in the federal declaration are: Anderson, Atchison, Barber, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Clark, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Douglas, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Jefferson, Kingman, Lyon, Marion, Morris, Osage, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Woodson and Wyandotte. The total eligible damages in these 32 counties, has reached nearly $39 million.

Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said President Bush authorized the aid under a major disaster declaration issued following a review of FEMA's analysis of Governor Sebelius' request for federal assistance.

After the President's action, Brown designated 32 counties eligible for federal funding to pay the state and affected local governments and certain private non-profit organizations 75 percent of the approved costs for emergency work and the restoration of damaged facilities.

The President's declaration was issued in response to a request Governor Kathleen Sebelius sent January 18, requesting federal assistance to help Kansans recover from the effects of the severe ice storms that hit the state, leaving thousands without power. The declaration also activates the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which gives assistance to state and local governments for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural or technological hazards.

Thomas J. Costello of FEMA has been named to coordinate the federal relief effort. Costello said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.

This declaration authorizes the Public Assistance program to restore damaged infrastructure under Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 288, as amended, and implemented by 44 CFR Part 206.36(d). These damages include such things as power lines and poles and extensive debris removal.

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