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Friday, August 24, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY– Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak has both praise and criticism today for the agency that approved federal aid for Oklahoma wildfire victims in one county, but denied the same aid for three other counties.
This week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified Gov. Mary Fallin that assistance for individuals and business owners impacted by wildfires in Creek County was approved, but denied for wildfire victims in Cleveland, Oklahoma and Payne counties.
“Like Gov. Fallin, I am extremely disappointed in FEMA’s decision,” Doak said. “I, too, think the rejections are ‘bureaucratic’ and ‘cruel.’ While the individual aid to Creek County victims is much appreciated and badly needed, I want to know why the President and his administration will not help all Oklahoma fire victims.”
Statewide, 603 homes were destroyed. Of those, 227 homes were in the counties that were not included in the federal disaster aid declaration.
Commissioner Doak saw all of the hardest-hit wildfire areas firsthand during the outbreak that started Aug. 3. He and Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) staff members met many of the affected homeowners and business owners and made them aware of the department’s Consumer Assistance resources.
“We’re in it for the long haul,” Doak said. “We will continue to help Oklahoma’s wildfire victims to the best of our ability in the months ahead.”
The state has 30 days to appeal the federal government’s denial of assistance for Cleveland, Oklahoma and Payne counties. Creek County victims are strongly encouraged to call FEMA’s toll-free number to begin the relief process as soon as possible. That number is 800-621-FEMA.
About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.
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