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Archive for Friday, June 27, 2003

Governor reviews flood damage

Sebelius expects federal disaster aid for Republic County

June 27, 2003

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— After touring areas hit by flooding in Republic County, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday that she believed the damage was great enough for residents to receive federal disaster assistance.

Sebelius already has issued a disaster declaration for the soaked county, but she told radio's Mid-America News Network in Wichita that damage would have to be $2.5 million or more to obtain a similar declaration from President Bush.

Sebelius said local officials were confident that threshold would be reached, and she said her tour of areas around Scandia and Belleville seemed to back up their assessments.

She said one farmer told her he'd lost $250,000 in equipment.

Storms Sunday night unleashed heavy rains, leading to flash flooding and washed out roads, bridges and crops. The National Weather Service also reported a tornado.

"There's a lot of damage roads and bridges that have been substantially damaged," Sebelius said. "We saw a lot of irrigation systems that have been knocked over, central pivots that were down in the fields."

Sebelius also said a local shortline railroad had part of its track damaged, raising the question of whether farmers would be able to get grain that survived the flooding to elevators.

The wheat harvest already is finishing up in parts of south-central Kansas.

"It's always a bad time to have a disaster, but it's a particularly bad time, given that harvest is about to begin in that area," Sebelius said after her tour.

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