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May 6, 1999

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I know that these tornadoes have taken quite a toll on the people of Kansas...but I also want them to know that the Federal government is available to help them start rebuilding their neighborhoods and their lives.

Vice President Al Gore
May 6, 1999

Today, President Clinton declared the devastation in Texas caused by this week's tornadoes a major disaster, and he pledged federal aid to assist in the recovery efforts. Also today, Vice President Gore promised over $5.7 million in emergency funds for the state of Kansas to help workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the storms.

Pledging Federal Funds for Recovery Efforts. President Clinton today declared a major disaster exists in the state of Texas and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. The President's action makes funds available to affected individuals and local governments in Bowie County, Texas, the area most affected by May 4th's severe storms and tornadoes.

Assistance can include:

  • disaster housing;
  • grants;
  • low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses;
  • debris removal and emergency protective measures for local governments; and
  • hazard mitigation measures.

Offering Emergency Assistance to Victims. Vice President Gore pledged more than $5.7 million in emergency funds to the state of Kansas to help workers who have lost their jobs due to this week's tornado devastation. Nearly $2 million of the funds will be awarded immediately. These funds will allow the state to create up to 600 temporary jobs to help Sedgewick County, Kansas, recover from the devastating damage inflicted this week. Jobs will include:

  • construction work;
  • security; and
  • helping out at relief centers.

These jobs will both assist in the recovery and help workers whose jobs were affected. If necessary, the jobs will remain available for up to six months. Workers will be eligible for support services such as child care, transportation, clothing and equipment.

Lending a Hand to Affected Communities. Due to the swift declaration of Sedgewick County as a federal disaster area by FEMA, funding for temporary jobs in Kansas is available from the Department of Labor under the Job Training Partnership Act. Damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional counties and assistance may be added after the assessments are completed.

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