President Bush has issued a federal disaster declaration for some Oklahoma counties. Now the question becomes what does it mean for those on the list and those other harmed counties not included within the declaration. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry is praising the president for his quick response to declare seven counties disaster areas.
In our area, the included counties are Tulsa, Wagoner and Mayes. The emergency declaration means those counties will receive federal money to help recover from the ice storm. FEMA will pay 75% of the counties' costs for debris removal and the restoration of public utilities.
"Public assistance will include the public cost to respond to this storm, to take emergency protective measures, debris removal and infrastructure repairs," said Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry.
As time goes on and those counties' damage estimates become clearer, FEMA could agree to help with even more. But, what about the other counties that suffered widespread damage that are not on the list?
All 77 Oklahoma counties had some sort of damage. But, if you're in one of the unnamed counties you are not part of the disaster declaration. Governor Brad Henry says that will change for some.
"We are conducting damage assessments in every county that has reported damage. And, if those counties meet the damage threshold they will be added to the declaration," said Governor Henry.
Governor Henry says FEMA representatives are meeting up with those counties' emergency managers. He hopes to add at least 13 counties to the list by Friday.
As far as individual assistance goes, Oklahoma has not yet qualified for that. If you have uninsured damage you need to report it to the state emergency management hotline. The more damages turned in by individuals, the more likely Oklahoma is to receive assistance from FEMA. The number to call is 866-560-7584.