FEMA Starts Review Of Damage

Friday, December 14th 2007, 9:39 pm
By: News On 6

As the clean-up continues and the costs mount, some storm victims are wondering if help from the federal government is on the way. The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA has arrived in Tulsa. The News On 6’s Ashli Sims reports a spokesperson from FEMA says they've got teams assessing damage in all 77 Oklahoma counties. And, that's the first step to get disaster assistance.

Those with FEMA say the more damage they find, the more money cities and towns are eligible for. So they're asking everyone to call the Oklahoma Damage Assessment Hotline at 866-560-7584. Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor says people shouldn't just calculate tree damage to their homes, but also lost wages.

Before individuals can receive federal money, the federal government has to declare individual counties federal disaster areas. If that happens, city governments can be reimbursed for 75% of things like debris removal and utility restoration.

Now in January, that step alone took about three weeks and for some counties, it took months.

For homeowners facing big bills for debris removal or tree damage, getting help from FEMA can take awhile and it's not guaranteed. For individuals to qualify for aid, the disaster declaration has to go up a notch to a “major disaster." Despite all of the damage from January's storm, individual aid was denied. And, it took them almost two months to find out they wouldn't get any federal money.

Meanwhile, FEMA has been distributing bottled water, cots, blankets and military rations to the local food bank. Also, 57 generators arrived on Friday. Plans are for 50 more to arrive over the weekend. FEMA says those generators will go to places like hospitals, 911 call centers, shelters and water treatment centers.

Watch the video: Federal Damage Survey Underway