Office of Governor Brad Henry
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol – Oklahoma City OK 73105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- 12/15/2007
Gov. Henry Requests Major Disaster Declaration for Initial 7 Oklahoma Counties
Oklahoma City -- Gov. Brad Henry today asked President George Bush for a major disaster declaration for an initial seven Oklahoma counties devastated by the recent ice storm. As more damage assessments are completed, requests will be made for additional counties to be declared.
If approved, cities, towns and counties impacted by last weekend’s ice storm will receive public assistance for expenses related to response and recovery efforts. Gov. Henry noted that preliminary damage assessments continue in counties throughout the state.
“The ice storm that swept through Oklahoma last weekend has been nothing short of catastrophic,” the Governor said. “The storm impacted hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans, many of whom are still discovering the full extent of the devastation. This storm was of historic proportions, and federal assistance deserves to be granted expeditiously and decisively.”
The counties listed in the request are: Cleveland, Lincoln, Mayes, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, Tulsa and Wagoner. In these seven counties, preliminary estimates for debris removal and utility damage (rural electric cooperatives and municipally-operated electric systems) alone exceed $30.4 million.
Earlier this week, President Bush approved Oklahoma’s request for an emergency declaration covering all 77 counties. That designation authorized federal resources to assist state and local governments as they continue to respond to the ice storm.
The Governor said Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management officials are also continuing surveys to build the state’s anticipated request to the President for Individual Assistance. Residents and business owners who have uninsured ice storm damages are urged to call the toll-free Oklahoma Damage Assessment Hotline (866) 560-7584 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Operators are on-hand to take the calls daily.
The Individual Assistance program, if granted, is designed to assist uninsured and under-insured business and home owners. This program typically includes low-interest loans and grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. However, private insurance coverage always takes precedence so property owners with ice storm damage should contact their insurance agent now.