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Kansas, Iowa Guard Continue Kansas Flood Assistance

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2007 – Kansas and Iowa National Guard members are providing assistance to several Kansas communities recovering from the effects of recent record rains and flooding, a state of Kansas official said today.

Ten Kansas National Guard troops and 27 Iowa National Guard soldiers are assisting local Kansas authorities with command and control and water-purification needs, Sharon Watson, a spokeswoman for the state’s Adjutant General’s Department, said during a telephone interview with American Forces Press Service.

Large swaths of Kansas were pummeled with heavy rains between June 30 and the Fourth of July, Watson noted. The state had been hit by previous rainstorms, as well as tornadoes, in early May.

“The Kansas National Guard troops were called out the weekend before the Fourth of July,” Watson recalled.

The Guard members “have responded wonderfully,” she added, noting the Kansas Guard also turned out in force to address the tornado damage and flooding that occurred in May.

Residents of Coffeyville and several other communities were evacuated by local authorities, primarily because of the heavy flooding, Watson said. In addition, a malfunction at a refinery in Coffeyville caused the leakage of thousands of gallons of oil, she said. Until recently, Kansas Guard troops posted in Coffeyville provided security assistance to local law enforcement to protect property, she said.

Kansas Guard troops also provided debris-removal assessments and communications capability and furnished pallets of drinking water as local authorities dealt with the effects of flooded electric power plants and water- and sewage- treatment facilities, Watson said.

A group of 27 citizen-soldiers from the Iowa National Guard continues to use reverse-osmosis filtering equipment to provide clean drinking water for residents of the community of Fredonia, Kan.

Flood waters in southeastern Kansas have receded in recent days, Watson noted. She predicted the Guard members would likely be redeployed “in a week or so,” as local authorities take over recovery efforts.

Kansas already had been hit hard by a tornado that nearly destroyed the rural town of Greensburg on May 4. The state was then drenched for several days by heavy rains, causing local rivers and streams to overflow into streets, roads, houses and businesses.

The region was just starting to dry out when the latest storms struck at the end of June, Watson said, noting almost 200 Kansas Guard members were engaged at the height of the most-recent emergency.

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