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Gov. Fallin requests federal assistance for storm-ravaged counties

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin has requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant public assistance for 16 counties hit hard by tornadoes and flooding that began May 5.

If approved, the designation would deliver federal funding to assist municipalities, counties and rural electric cooperatives with infrastructure repairs, debris removal and costs associated with responding to the storms.

Counties included in the request are: Atoka, Bryan, Cleveland, Cotton, Grady, Haskell, Hughes, Johnston, Latimer, McClain, Okfuskee, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Seminole, Stephens, and Tillman.

“In counties across Oklahoma, flooding is doing a large amount of damage to roads and bridges, in some cases rendering them impassable,” said Fallin. “I’m asking the federal government to approve this request as quickly as possible so both state and federal aid can be used to support local recovery efforts.”

A preliminary damage survey identified more than $13 million in uninsured infrastructure losses due to flooding and tornadoes. Damage assessments are ongoing and counties are expected to be added to the request as additional damages are identified. At least 70 Oklahoma counties have reported some sort of damage from storms or flooding in May.

Individual assistance has already been granted for Cleveland, Grady and Oklahoma counties for damages to homes and businesses related to the storms.

FEMA denied the governor’s request for a disaster assistance in April, saying then that it had “been determined that the damage from this event was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies.”

Fallin said the ability to acquire federal assistance for individuals in additional counties rests on the state’s ability to quantify the widespread destruction. Fallin asked all Oklahomans who have suffered damages to report those losses to FEMA.

Residents and business owners can report damage by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

“If you live in Oklahoma and have suffered storm damages, please report your losses to FEMA,” Fallin said. “Doing so will help to support the case for additional federal assistance for the many Oklahoma families and businesses in need.”

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