Tulsa, OK – Gov. Brad Henry today asked the White House to approve a major disaster declaration for 15 counties impacted in the first round of a series of violent storms last week that left two dead and hundreds of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed.
The Governor's request for individual assistance includes Alfalfa, Carter, Cleveland, Grant, Johnston, Kay, Mayes, McClain, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Pottawatomie, Rogers and Seminole counties.
Gov. Henry noted that other counties and communities including Tulsa were impacted by storms that occurred later in the week and he said authorities were still finalizing damage assessments in those areas so the state could expand its request for federal aid in the days to come.
"We will do everything we can to get every impacted community and citizen the assistance they need to rebuild and recover," said the governor. "Oklahoma has endured a series of devastating storms over the last week and we will need federal assistance to make our communities whole again."
Gov. Henry declared a state of emergency in many counties after the first storms hit last week. According to the state Department of Emergency Management, the May 10-11 storms damaged nearly 1,500 homes and businesses, including 282 that were destroyed.
If the request for individual assistance is approved, Oklahomans who suffered uninsured storm-related damage in the 15 counties would be eligible for assistance 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.
As reports of damage to homes and businesses in other counties are confirmed, more counties will be added to the declaration. In the meantime, emergency management officials are gathering information to request public assistance for infrastructure repairs and response costs in impacted counties.