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Monday, July 14, 2014

Hundreds apply for FEMA assistance

BY BRENT WISTROM
The Wichita Eagle

At least 495 people in Kiowa County have applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency since a tornado thrashed through the area and leveled Greensburg on Friday.

An additional 34 people outside of Kiowa County have also applied, FEMA spokeswoman Dawn Kinsey said today.

It can take up to 10 days for an inspector to examine damages and file a report, but 15 inspectors are already on the ground in Greensburg and are checking all damage before the debris is hauled away.

Once a report is filed, FEMA processes the information and distributes eligible money by electronic bank transfers or by mail.

Kinsey couldn't say how long that usually takes because the process varies depending on damage.

Kiowa County has received an assistance declaration, allowing local government and some non-profits to apply for money to rebuild or repair infrastructure.

All counties in Kansas are eligible for hazard mitigation grants, which reimburse them for assisting the tornado-ravaged area.

Wichita has already taken steps that will allow it to be reimbursed for the aid that it has given.

State and federal officials encourage those affected by the disaster to apply for assistance immediately by going online to www.fema.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA(3362), from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Those with speech or hearing impairments may call TTY 800-462-7585.

For more information on applying for aid, visit: www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=36073.

For more information on FEMA's assistance programs, visit: www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=36129.

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