Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today designated 44 Oklahoma counties eligible for federal disaster aid to help communities recover from the effects of severe storms that struck the state late last month.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush this afternoon following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal relief. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred over the period of May 27-30.
Allbaugh said the President's action makes federal funds available to the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities. Federal funding also will be provided for the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
The 44 counties designated for the aid by Allbaugh following the declaration include Alfalfa, Atoka, Beaver, Beckham, Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Canadian, Carter, Choctaw, Cimarron, Coal, Comanche, Cotton, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Harper, Haskell, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, LeFlore, Love, Major, Marshall, McClain, McCurtain, Murray, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Pushmataha, Roger Mills, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Washita and Woodward.
Allbaugh indicated that more jurisdictions and additional forms of assistance may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named Joe D. Bray of FEMA to coordinate federal relief operations.
Bray said procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.