PITTSBURG — Following a decision last week by President Donald Trump to grant a request from Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly for an emergency disaster declaration in 18 counties — including Crawford, Cherokee and Neosho counties — 15 more, including Allen County, were added to the list of those eligible for federal disaster relief on Saturday.
“President Trump’s approval of additional counties will help us provide critical support and resources to communities to keep Kansans safe and rebuild,” Kelly said in a release. “We will continue to work closely with our local, state and federal partners during this challenging time.”
Kelly originally requested a disaster declaration for 46 counties following storms in late May. Late last week, the Kansas Legislature voted unanimously to extend the governor’s disaster declaration through January 13, 2020.
Crawford County Emergency Manager Jason VanBecelaere said Monday that the federal disaster declaration will help the county with reimbursement for the cost of its cleanup efforts. It will also contribute to the storm relief efforts by allowing his department and others in Kansas to call in support from out-of-state personnel and agencies, he said, or to borrow equipment if necessary.
Cleanup efforts are going well, VanBecelaere said, although Langdon Lane south of Pittsburg remains closed as crews continue working.
“We’re asking people to be patient,” he said. “It will take some time to get to other areas.”
VanBecelaere said about 55 residential properties were damaged in the recent storms, either in the form of roof damage or damage to outbuildings.
More than 100 trees have fallen on residential properties, VanBecelaere estimated, although not all of those necessarily caused any structural damage.