Federal, State Money Pours Into Storm Ravaged Delaware County

Sunday, June 19th 2011, 9:24 pm
By: News On 6

Emily Baucum, News On 6

DELAWARE COUNTY, Oklahoma -- FEMA issued a disaster declaration for Delaware County after tornadoes spun a path of destruction through communities surrounding Grand Lake last month. That means people affected by the storms can get money to help rebuild.

The agency recently set up shop in Jay, clearing the way for Oklahomans to clean up storm damage. Home and business owners have 60 days to register with FEMA after a storm destroys property.

Emergency workers say if you have damage, register immediately, in case insurance won't pay to repair all the damage.

It's hard to pick up the pieces when those pieces are shredded into nothing more than memories.

"This was his bedroom right here. We're standing in his bedroom," said storm victim Otis Dempsey Jr.

Communities all around Delaware County are tattered and broken, but determined.

"Tear down and start over," Dempsey Jr. said.

The driving force behind rebuilding: money, and that's why FEMA came to Jay.

"We have people here that will help you through the process and get you what you deserve in the way of money," said H.R. Holman of FEMA.

FEMA encourages all affected property owners to register. Whether a home's just missing a few shingles or simply gone -- FEMA can pay for some expenses insurance won't cover.

"Tarps or material to cover things up with. Those types of things probably are covered," Holman said.

Disaster recovery teams will walk you through the rest, but be sure to bring them receipts for any rebuilding costs.

"It expedites the process of what the costs were," Holman said.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management is also on standby.

"There are some things that insurance doesn't cover, some things that FEMA doesn't cover in between - that people just have to pull together and do," said Tom Ashing of the state agency.

From debris removal to a home-cooked meal, state workers will put you in touch with people who can help.

"We don't have the funding FEMA does in a lot of cases so we're dependent upon volunteers," Ashing said.

Paving the way for Delaware County's future, as federal dollars match the Oklahoma spirit to move forward.

"We will live through it like everybody else does. Just rebuild it and go on," said Gary Weaver, dock owner.

The disaster recovery center is located inside the Jay Community Center at 429 9th Street. It's open through June 30th from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday

Homeowners can register in person at the community center or by calling 800-621-3362. People can also register online.

The disaster declaration covers damage sustained during severe storms, tornadoes and flooding May 22 to May 25.

So far, FEMA's approved nearly $250,000 in assistance to Delaware County residents.