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County still assessing damage from recent storm
new deh county commission ice damage pic web
Damage caused by the recent ice storm, like this on Forest Avenue in Great Bend, led the Barton County Commission Monday to sign a disaster declaration. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 Barton County experienced serious damage from the recent ice storm and resulting ice accumulations. Countless limbs crashed to the ground, thousands of residents left without electricity and travel became hazardous.

So, in an effort to review the damages in Barton County with state and local officials, the County Commission Monday morning signed a disaster declaration to start the ball rolling. 

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management requested emergency management directors collect estimated damages throughout Kansas in an effort to obtain a Federal Disaster Declaration, Barton County Emergency Management Director Amy Miller said. Barton County was included in the State of Disaster Emergency Proclamation, signed by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on Jan. 12.  

But, efforts are ongoing to document preliminary damage assessments, Miller said. Barton County, including cities and townships, needs to reach the necessary $99,103.14 threshold in damages to qualify to apply for public assistance.  

In this instance, the damages sustained by electric cooperatives should qualify them for assistance which requires that the commission declare a state of local disaster in order to for them to apply for assistance.

In addition, Barton County needs to declare a state of local disaster in order for the state and federal officials to determine whether current losses will qualify for federal assistance dollars.

The deadline to have the information turned in is 21 days following the storm, Miller said. The KDEM will submit state totals to the Federal Emergency Management Agency office in Kansas City which will in turn forward it to the national office. 

The winter storm hit the area beginning on Jan. 13 and continued through Jan. 16.