Tuesday, November 22, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today requested a federal disaster declaration to help individuals, families and businesses in Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties recover from the impacts of a series of damaging earthquakes that began on November 5 and have been followed by more than 75 aftershocks.
“Oklahoma has seen its share of natural disasters this year, including the recent earthquakes in Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties,” Governor Fallin said. “If our request is approved, individuals, families and businesses impacted by the earthquakes will be eligible for federal assistance.”
The governor requested federal aid through FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. If approved, the program makes funding available for homeowners, renters and business owners in the form of grants and low-interest loans as well as disaster housing assistance and other necessary disaster expenses. Other counties could be added to the request as new or further damage is identified.
Preliminary damage assessments conducted last week confirmed damage to nearly 200 homes and businesses in Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties. However, as earthquakes of this magnitude are not common in Oklahoma, most residents did not have the necessary earthquake insurance.
Damage evaluators from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration were brought in to assist local and state emergency management in identifying and categorizing the damage. Evaluating earthquake damage is more complex and time consuming than tornado or flood damage, as much of the damage may not be visible from the outside of buildings.
According to the United States Geological Survey, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck Oklahoma at 10:53 p.m. on November 6. The epicenter was located approximately four miles east of Sparks in Lincoln County. This was the strongest earthquake recorded in Oklahoma’s history, breaking the state’s previous record from 1952.
Governor Fallin declared a State of Emergency November 9 to support local and state response.