OKLAHOMA CITY – Removing debris after massive storms can be very expensive. That is why additional federal funding for these projects was approved.
An additional $4.6 million has been approved in federal funding for debris clearance in Oklahoma following the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred from May 18 – June 2, 2013. This figure, along with additional amounts from Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, brings State and federal assistance for Oklahoma to nearly $75 million.
The latest amount covers eligible debris removal costs under a FEMA Public Assistance Alternative Procedures Pilot Program. The accelerated debris removal program was initiated in Oklahoma following the devastating spring storms. The program funds expenses such as debris removal and debris recycling from public property and right-of-ways.
“Clearing debris is the first step in long-term recovery. This pilot program is assisting Oklahoma communities as they continue the rebuilding process,” said State Coordinating Officer and Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Deputy Director Michelann Ooten.
A fundamental element of the pilot program is the provision of financial incentives for applicants for accomplishing timely removal of debris and for developing a pre-incident debris management plan.
“Not only is the pilot program helping with debris clearance, but it is also offering financial incentives that are helping with the recovery process. That’s a win-win for all,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman.
Meanwhile, more than $14.4 million in disaster assistance for housing and disaster-related expenses has been approved for qualified homeowners and renters. This includes more than $9.8 million in rental costs and house repairs, and more than $4.5 million for medical expenses, replacement clothing, vehicle repairs, funeral and burial costs, and other needs generated by the storms.
As of September 18, more than one million cubic yards of disaster debris had been cleared in Oklahoma, roughly 96 percent of the estimated total of 1,242,890 cubic yards generated by the storms.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $45.4 million in low-interest disaster loans for qualified homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations in Oklahoma.