Gov. Mary Fallin filed an appeal on behalf of nine eastern Oklahoma counties affected by flooding and winter storms occurring last December.
Fallin requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency change its decision denying individual assistance to business owners, homeowners, and renters affected by storms that began Dec. 26.
The aid was requested for the following counties:
Fallin wrote in a statement she was at a loss to explain how neighboring states qualified for individual assistance, but Oklahoma did not receive similar aid.
Previously, FEMA approved aid for 41 counties in the state, including 11 counties in Arkansas and 33 counties in Missouri affected by the same storm.
“Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri residents sustained damage during the same period, from the same storm. Weather systems recognize no county or state lines and yet Oklahomans have been left behind.
“Moreover, in all of the nine counties still desperately in need of individual assistance, infrastructure was damaged so badly by the storm that public assistance was declared. It only makes sense that the same storm system that delivered an estimated $48 million in damages to roads and bridges, parks and public buildings as well as electric power systems, would similarly damage homes and businesses. The whole community suffers when the citizens’ homes and livelihoods are lost without resources to rebuild.
“In the case of the residents of these nine counties denied individual assistance, it seems these Oklahomans simply were unlucky enough to experience their damage in the wrong state and the wrong counties.”