Archive for Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Federal assistance numbers for storm victims soar

June 4, 2003

More than 500 Leavenworth and Wyandotte county residents have applied for federal assistance for home and property damage inflicted by a tornado last month.

On May 4, multiple cyclones ate through homes in Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties, damaging at least 600 homes in their paths. The funnels eventually crested in Missouri.

Both Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties were declared disaster areas.

According to the latest figures released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 459 Wyandotte County residents and 10 Leavenworth County residents have applied for federal assistance.

Overall, 1,103 Kansas residents and 5,690 Missouri residents have applied for federal assistance.

A per county breakdown of federal funds distributed to homeowners was not available as of press time Wednesday. However, more than $7 million has been released to homeowners in Kansas and Missouri, who suffered property damage from the tornadoes.

In Kansas, $1,187,444 has been released to property owners; in Missouri, where tornadoes caused the most damage, $5,789,687 has been distributed. The funds are grants and will not have to be repaid, FEMA officials said.

"Those are checks written and out on the street," said Doug Welty, FEMA public information officer.

The deadline for applications for Leavenworth and Wyandotte county residents seeking disaster assistance is July 7. For more information contact FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

FEMA has released an even larger dollar amount, more than $15 million, in disaster relief loans in Kansas and Missouri, to individuals and small businesses suffering damage from the storm.

These funds are low-interest loans, FEMA officials said.

The deadline for applying for these loans is also July 7.

Through a Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, FEMA also offers aid to residents who are unemployed because of the storms in May.

The deadline for applying for DUA assistance is June 8 and anyone interested should contact the Kansas Department of Human Resources at 1-800-292-6333.

FEMA and Kansas counties that were damaged by the tornadoes are also working toward a joint-funding venture, which would pay for the repair of "areas in the public interest and common use," such as roads and bridges, Welty said.

The joint funding would also being used to help pay expenses occurred in debris removal, FEMA officials said.

FEMA will remain in the area aiding those victimized by the storm, Welty said.

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