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Public disaster assistance available
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Last October’s flooding in Barton County, which caused several roads to be closed and other damage, qualified the county for federal public disaster assistance. - photo by Tribune file photo

Barton County has qualified for federal public disaster assistance due to flooding that occurred last October, Barton County Emergency Manager Amy Miller said. There will be an applicants meeting at 1 p.m. Monday, March 18, in the courthouse lower level conference room, 1400 Main St. in Great Bend.

Miller stressed this is public assistance not individual assistance.

President Donald Trump on Feb. 25. declared a major disaster existed in Kansas and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by storms that hit in the first half of October.

Flooding was the main concern from the fall storms that also included strong straight-line winds. In October, then Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer issued a State of Disaster Emergency declaration for the state in response to heavy rains that caused localized flooding and flash flooding in several counties.

Locally, the high water forced the closure of several county and township roads. Major highways were also made impassable.

Colyer’s proclamation read in part “certain conditions caused, or eminently threaten to cause widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life or property in disaster proportion” and “such conditions created obstructions which endangered health, safety and welfare of persons and property within the border of Barton County, Kansas.” 

With the statewide decree in place, Barton County was eligible for disaster relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency if the local damage is significant enough.

The declaration from the president is intended to help with the recovery that continues,four months after the storms.

Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the report or replacement of facilities damaged bye the severe storms, straight-line winds, and flooding. Other counties included were Anderson, Cowley, Doniphan, Greenwood, Harvey, Kingman, Neosho, Pratt, Reno, Rice and Sumner.