Oklahoma City, OK -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of Oklahoma have received 309 registrations for assistance from state and federal agencies five weeks into the application period. Originally granted on October 25th to address the October 9th tornado damages in Washita County, the Federal disaster declaration was amended on November 16th to include losses from the same storm system that affected homeowners, renters and business owners in Caddo and Kiowa counties.
"We believe that the majority of the individuals and businesses owners needing our help have now applied," said Fred Liebe, State Coordinating Officer (SCO). "Last week [Nov. 26 -30] for instance, only two registrations were received and activity on the information assistance line was light with only 15 inquiries received."
"We are continuing to accept applications and assist individuals with questions and concerns through our 1-800-621-FEMA  number", said Federal Coordinating Officer Joe D. Bray. "The registration period ends on December 31, 2001, and applicants can call the information line whenever they need help, even into next year. Both systems are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m."
"We have already approved several disaster loans; however, many people have not yet returned their applications," said Raymond Chatham, the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Area Three Director, Disaster Assistance Division. "We urge homeowners and renters with disaster loan packets to fill them out and return them now so all qualified loans can be made promptly and people can begin to get their lives back on track."
"An SBA loan decline is necessary before assistance from the State of Oklahoma-administered Individual and Family Grants Program is possible," added SCO Liebe. "Just as soon as a loan determination is made, one way or the other, help can be on its way to the folks who need it."