Archive for Saturday, June 28, 2008

State seeks federal help for drought, storms

June 28, 2008


— Kansas has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for help with damage from recent spring storms and lingering drought conditions.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius sent a request to FEMA asking that 49 counties be declared a federal disaster from storms that hit the state from May 22 through June 16. Those storms included the tornadoes that hit Chapman and Manhattan.

Two people died in the tornadoes, which left schools, churches, homes and businesses heavily damaged, including buildings at Kansas State University.

"This assistance will help impacted counties get back on their feet as quickly as possible," Sebelius said in a written statement. "People need water to drink, electricity for their homes and businesses and bridges for transportation."

In addition, Sebelius is asking the Agriculture Department to declare five counties in southwest Kansas disaster areas because of exceptional drought conditions.

Farmers and ranchers would be eligible for low-interest loans, plus any aid available under the disaster provisions of the new federal farm bill.

The counties are Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Morton and Stevens, which currently rank on the U.S. Drought Monitor as experiencing extreme drought.

"It's taking a toll on grain crops and forage, and some livestock owners have had to reduce or sell off entire herds because of poor grassland growth," Sebelius said.

The requests comes as Kansas continues to experience severe weather.

Storms moved through the state Thursday, causing flooding in southern counties of Butler, Chase and Coffey. More storms were in the forecast through early today, with some storms possibly severe.


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