June 10, 2013
Governor Mary Fallin today asked the federal government to extend the major disaster declaration issued on May 20 to include the latest round of tornadoes, flooding, straight-line winds and severe storms that occurred in Oklahoma from May 28 through June 2. The governor also requested the declaration be amended to include Canadian County, bringing the number of counties included to six.
In Canadian and Oklahoma counties alone, more than 538 homes and businesses were impacted by the May 28 - June 2 severe storms. This includes 52 destroyed, 193 with major damage, and 159 with minor damage.
Damage assessments had to be completed by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) before a request to extend the disaster declaration could be made. Assessments in some areas were delayed as flood waters kept OEM-FEMA teams from gaining access. Today’s request by the Governor covers the hardest-hit counties; however, assessments are on-going in additional counties as flood damage continues to be reported.
A disaster declaration has already been issued on May 20 for damage occurring in Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie Counties. Over $5.3 million of assistance grants have been awarded by FEMA to individuals living in those counties.
“May was a difficult month for many Oklahomans, with back to back storm systems killing dozens of people and damaging or destroying thousands of homes and businesses,” said Fallin. “I am grateful for our partners at FEMA who have worked closely with Oklahoma emergency officials, first responders, non-profits and faith groups to deliver assistance to those affected in the May 19 and May 20 tornadoes. Unfortunately, a second round of destruction has once again left many Oklahomans in need of help. For that reason, I am requesting that the federal government amend its disaster declaration to include additional damage incurred from May 28 to June 2.”
If the governor’s request is approved, individuals in these counties as well as Canadian County will be eligible for assistance due to damage that took place between May 28 and June 2. Assistance options include payments for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.
If the disaster declaration extension is granted, additional counties could later be added.