Governor Requests Federal Disaster Declaration for 49 Counties

By: WTOK Sister Station WIBW
By: WTOK Sister Station WIBW

Governor Kathleen Sebelius has signed a letter to President George W. Bush requesting a federal disaster declaration for 49 counties impacted by severe storms accompanied by large hail, lightning, high winds, tornadoes, and torrential rains resulting in widespread destruction to homes businesses, utilities, and public infrastructure beginning May 22, 2008, and ending June 16, 2008.

Counties named in the request are: Barber, Bourbon, Butler, Brown, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clark, Clay, Comanche , Cowley, Crawford, Decatur, Dickinson, Edwards, Ellis, Franklin, Gove, Graham, Harper, Hodgeman, Jackson, Jewell, Kiowa, Lincoln, Linn, Logan, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Morris, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Republic, Riley, Rooks, Rush, Saline, Seward, Sheridan, Smith, Stafford, Sumner, Thomas, Trego and Wallace.

The governor's request is for Public Assistance to help these counties
restore public infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the storms. The request also asked for the Hazard Mitigation Program to be activated.

"This assistance will help impacted counties get back on their feet as
quickly as possible," said Sebelius. "People need water to drink, electricity for their homes and businesses, and safe roads and bridges for transportation. These federal funds will help get life back to normal for the people affected by these storms."

Earlier Thursday Sebelius received a 10-day extension on the deadline to request a federal disaster declaration. The governor made the extension request to FEMA on June 23, citing the need for more time to conduct additional preliminary damage assessments to determine which counties will meet federal guideline requirements for Public Assistance.

"These tornadoes and storms did damage over a very large area," said
Sebelius. "We need time to make sure that every qualifying property is
documented and a fair damage assessment made."

Chapman and Manhattan damages do not meet federal requirements for Individual Assistance Damage estimates indicate that the cities of Chapman and Manhattan have not met the federal threshold to qualify its citizens for Individual Assistance.

To qualify for FEMA Individual Assistance - assistance directly available to individuals, families and businesses - a county must have a significant number of damaged homes with only a small percentage of them with insurance coverage.

Other factors that are considered are the economic impact to a community and the number of deaths and injuries resulting from the disaster.

The damages in Chapman did meet the threshold to qualify the community for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. To meet this threshold there must be a minimum of 25 homes and/or businesses with more than a 40 percent uninsured loss.
Applications for the disaster loans may be made at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center at St. Michael's Parish Center, 230 E. 6th St., Chapman and the Manhattan Fire Department, 2000 Denison Ave., Manhattan.

The center in Chapman will be open Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., beginning June 24, through July 9. The Manhattan center will operate June 26 and 27, July 3 and July 10 and 11, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

SBA disaster loans are also being made available to individuals and businesses in Clay, Dickinson, Geary, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Morris, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Wabaunsee and Washington Counties.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or
replace their damaged or destroyed primary residence. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses of any size and private non-profit organizations may borrow up to $1.5 million. The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is August 19, 2008.

The deadline to return economic injury applications is March 20, 2009.
For additional information, call the SBA's Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or go on-line to or the SBA's website at Hearing impaired individuals may contact SBA at (800) 877-8339.

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