FEMA, State Officials Assess Tornado Damage In Mayes County For Federal Assistance

As tornado survivors continue the huge cleanup effort in Mayes County, officials from FEMA and the State are working to assess the damage there.

Friday, May 31st 2024, 6:07 pm

By: Matt Rahn


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As tornado survivors continue the huge cleanup effort in Mayes County, officials from FEMA and the State are working to assess the damage there.

Leaders say the key to getting approved for federal assistance is reporting as much damage as they can.

The State Department of Emergency Management says they will look at as many homes as possible to make the case to get federal funding for devastated areas like Mayes County.

The path of the tornado that ripped through Mayes County stretches for miles, and the damage here was relentless.

"Every property matters, we're just looking at the amount of that damage,” says Annie Vest with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

She says it's taken them all week just to assess some of the homes across the county.

"I'm really here to make sure that we can try to expedite whatever requests for assistance goes up from the state office to the governor’s office up to the president," Vest said.

She says making a strong case for assistance means reporting around 300 homes and making sure the damage is reported properly.

"Earlier we were on a property for example that originally would have said to be minor damage and we were able to work with the county to suggest to FEMA that it was a destroyed property," says Vest.

Working alongside Michael Dunham with Mayes County, they're hoping to finish this long and tedious task by the end of next week.

"It is just devastating with just how much damage and debris they are having to deal with here," Dunham said.

He says his county Emergency management office is mostly volunteers, so getting help from the state is making this process move faster. 

"We're praying that they can get back on their feet and that's why we're here trying to do these damage assessments," Dunham said.

Getting any help he can is just another piece of a huge puzzle to get a community put back together.

Officials are urging tornado victims to report tornado damage no matter how small to damage.ok.gov.

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