Office of Governor Brad Henry
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol – Oklahoma City OK 73105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- 8/22/2007
Gov. Henry Requests Federal Disaster Declaration for Blaine, Caddo, Kingfisher Counties
Oklahoma City - Gov. Brad Henry today requested President Bush declare three Oklahoma counties as disaster areas in the wake of deadly flooding, tornadoes and other severe weather that occurred this past weekend as the result of Tropical Depression Erin. The Governor’s request for individual assistance covers the hardest-hit counties of Blaine, Caddo and Kingfisher although more counties can be added as additional damage assessments are completed.
Gov. Henry said Oklahomans impacted by the storms are in serious need of assistance.
“What hit the state last weekend was essentially a small hurricane, and it devastated many communities throughout the state. It is critical that we do everything in our power to see that they receive the help they need,” he said.
“Having visited with some of the many Oklahomans working to recover from the damage, I am impressed, but not surprised, by their courage, tenacity and resilience. But they cannot bounce back without assistance. I am optimistic that the President and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will respond quickly and decisively to my request.”
The torrential storms damaged nearly 500 homes in the three counties alone, including 42 that were destroyed and 192 that sustained major damage. If the request is approved, those who suffered damage will be eligible for assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.
Assessment teams continue to survey infrastructure damages throughout the state. The Governor said he anticipates asking for public assistance to be added to the request once a sufficient number of surveys are completed. In many cases, flood waters have delayed damage assessment teams from examining damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure.