Governor declares state disaster for flooding from series of recent storms

Gov. Sam Brownback has issued a State of Disaster Emergency declaration for 62 counties affected by the recent severe storms, flooding and flash floods.

“These floods have damaged roads, bridges and other vital infrastructure across most of the state,” Brownback said in a prepared statement. “These need to be repaired as quickly as possible so everyone can get back to business as usual.”

One death is attributed to the flooding that was spawned by the strong storms that began raking the state on July 22. Steven Burrow, 14, drowned on Aug. 9 while swimming in the Wichita-Valley Center Floodway, known locally as the Big Ditch.

Named in the declaration are Allen, Anderson, Barber, Barton, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Edwards, Elk, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Geary, Gray, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearney, Kingman, Kiowa, Labette, Lane, Linn, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Montgomery, Morris, Neosho, Ness, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Republic, Rice, Rush, Russell, Saline, Scott, Sedgwick, Seward, Stafford, Stanton, Sumner, Wichita, Wilson, and Woodson counties.

The governor’s declaration activates the disaster response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan, authorizing state resources and funds to expedite emergency assistance statewide.

The aid will assist local governments in repairing damaged infrastructure such as roads and bridges, said Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.