With the possibility of more rain looming, Kansans in eastern and southeastern Kansas continue to recover from heavy rains and flooding that inundated the area beginning June 30.
Aerial damage assessments were conducted over Elk, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho and Wilson Counties July 5. Ground assessments began Monday, July 9. Based on preliminary damage assessments, federal Individual Assistance is being made available to residents and businesses in these five counties. Other counties may be made eligible as other damage assessment figures become available.
Current weather forecasts call for chances of thunderstorms Monday through Friday, some of them possibly severe. However, widespread severe weather is not anticipated.
The Kansas National Guard currently has 145 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery deployed to Coffeyville to assist local law enforcement officers with security missions. The soldiers are using communication equipment from Joint Forces Headquarters Kansas and the 190th Air Refueling Wing in Topeka to assist them with these missions.
Three members of the 184th Air Refueling Wing and five members of the 891st Engineer Battalion are conducting Debris Removal Assessments in flood-affected counties. These assessments are used to determine quantity and type of debris, landfill size, capacity and condition and availability of burn sites within each county, city and town.
Other Guardsmen from the 287th Sustainment Brigade are assisting with command and control operations.
In addition, 26 Guardsmen from the Iowa National Guard are conducting water supply missions in Fredonia using reverse osmosis water purification units.
The Kansas Highway Patrol deployed a command and control vehicle to Coffeyville on July 8 along with two operators. The Kansas Department of Transportation Communications on Wheels vehicle also deployed to Coffeyville on July 8.
FEMA has opened Disaster Recovery Centers in Elk, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, and Wilson Counties. The centers to serve as information sites for those affected by the severe storms and flooding beginning June 26. Applicants may follow up with questions about their applications. The hours of operations for the DRCs are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
The centers are located at:
· Osawatomie High School Auditorium (Miami County), 1200 Trojan Drive
· Community Elementary School, 102 S. Cline, Coffeyville (Montgomery County)
· 120 N. 6th St. Independence (Montgomery County)
· Neodesha City Hall, 1407 N. 8th St. (Wilson County)
· Elk County Courthouse Parking Lot, 100 N. Pine St., Howard
· Erie High School, 410 W. 3rd St., Erie (Neosho County)
Disaster victims are urged to register for assistance first by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. Victims can also register online at www.fema.gov or visit a DRC to meet face-to-face with recovery specialists. Phones are available onsite for applicants to register.
SBA representatives are at all DRC locations to explain how SBA low-interest disaster loans can help homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations pay for their disaster losses, according to SBA officials. They also will meet with applicants one-on-one and assist them in filling out their loan applications.
The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services will offer disaster food assistance to residents of Elk, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho and Wilson Counties. Only these counties which have received Presidential disaster declarations for individual assistance qualify for disaster food assistance.
Applications will be accepted for seven business days, beginning Monday, July 9 through Tuesday, July 17. The disaster benefit period began June 26 will end July 25.
Individuals who lived in the approved counties or those who worked in the disaster areas and have lost wages are eligible. Benefits will be issued on an Electronic Benefit Transfer card that will be activated upon approval. In most cases this can be done instantly, but may take as long as 24 hours.
Individuals can receive more information and apply for services at the disaster recovery centers, Red Cross emergency shelters, or at any SRS office. For more information call toll-free 1-888-369-4777.
The Kansas Department of Revenue will provide free duplicate vehicle titles/registrations for individuals needing them in the counties affected by recent flooding.
Businesses affected by the flood may contact the Department of Revenue if they are going to have problems filing their returns (785-368-8222). If an affected business is going to be late in filing their return, they should print the word FLOOD in big black letters on the top of the tax return they send to the department.
The American Red Cross has 11 emergency response vehicles in the field as mobile feeding stations and for bulk distribution of materials. The organization has 230 workers in various communities, four service delivery sites and three shelters. As of noon on July 8, the ARC sheltered 1,300 people, served 6,947 meals and 12,931 snacks to flood victims and rescue workers.