Federal aid helps local Kansas towns recover from storm damages

GARDEN CITY, Kansas – There’s been plenty of storms across the state this week, but severe weather earlier this year led the Federal Government to declare nearly half of Kansas affected by disaster.

“It was impressive. There was a lot of damage throughout the county,” said Jared walker, Hodgeman county sheriff.

In Hodgeman county and surrounding areas, heavy rains in late May caused some significant flooding.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had this kind of damage from rain. Really did a number on our roads,” said Marsha Ewy, Hodgeman County commissioner.

“The worst one was O’Connell dam where the side of the bridge collapsed- a lot of missing parts of the county roads,” Walker said.

It’s a problem for many rural parts of Kansas…

Here in Hodgeman county only four miles of roadways are paved.

The other twelve hundred are made of dirt, making them more susceptible to flood damage.

“We in turn have to haul dirt back in and build the dirt base up and then get gravel on,” said Mike Burke, with Hodgeman County emergency management.

The county is still assessing the cost of the damage… But with a tight budget… County officials say outside aid is necessary.

“The budget we’ve got here in the road department…we couldn’t do this without help,” Burke said.

Hodgeman is one of of try two counties now eligible for federal aid.

The money will help cover the cost of repairs for damages caused by tornados, heavy winds and flooding this May and June.

“We’re very excited to receive the FEMA money,” Ewy said.

It isn’t clear how much federal aid each county will get, but Hodgeman knows they have a lot of work ahead of them.

“And now we’re going to do a lot of…a lot of rebuilding,” Burke said.

A total of forty counties were included in the federal disaster declaration.

The money is used to pay for city and county repairs from storms that hit the state from May to June.

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