Governor Brad Henry cites deadline to get federal tornado damage aid

Wednesday, July 2nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahomans who suffered property damage because of the May 8-9 tornadoes must act quickly if they want federal assistance, Gov. Brad Henry said Wednesday.

Henry reminded Oklahomans that July 9th is the deadline to apply for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He also announced a new telephone line people can call for help if they were the victims of any kind of natural disaster. Victims of the May tornadoes can contact FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA.

``I think we can guarantee you you won't get assistance if you don't make the application,'' Henry said.

Oklahomans who have needs FEMA can't meet or who were affected by storm damage not covered by the disaster declaration should call 1-888-220-1212, the governor said. That is the number of the Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster organization. The line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Henry urged citizens to donate money to a disaster fund recently created by the disaster organization.

The Oklahoma group is part of a national organization that has seen its funding depleted by a rash of disasters since the 2001 terrorists attacks, officials said.

``We desperately need the help of all Oklahomans,'' said Henry, urging citizens to ``dig down deeply to do everything they can to help your neighbors.''

Officials said money donated in Oklahoma will be earmarked for disasters in the state.

Contributions are tax deductible and can be sent to the Oklahoma Disaster Fund, PO. Box 533655, Oklahoma City, OK 73152.

One person was killed and more than 100 people were injured in the Oklahoma City area by two twisters that struck May 8 and 9. The tornadoes destroyed 35 businesses and hundreds of homes, causing at least $100 million in damage.