Oklahoma City, OK -- Disaster assistance for Harmon County has been expanded to include aid for local governments affected by the recent ice storm in Oklahoma and assistance for Payne and Woodward Counties has been expanded to include all categories of public assistance, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the additional assistance was approved following his review of damage data gathered by federal and state disaster recovery officials. Under the original declaration issued by President Bush on February 1, Payne and Woodward Counties were designated for public assistance (emergency protective services and debris removal only). Harmon County was added for individual assistance on February 7, but had not previously been eligible for any type of public assistance.
In additions to the millions that ice storm victims throughout the 45 designated counties have already received, $18.9 million in federal funds has been obligated to help 12 rural electric cooperatives and one municipality cover the cost of emergency protective measures taken during the severe ice storm.
"Our continuing commitment is not only to help meet the recovery needs of devastated families and businesses," Allbaugh said, " but to ensure that the vital community services they also depend on are restored as quickly and efficiently as possible."
During his announcement of the multi-million dollar projects last Friday, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) praised FEMA for their continued effort to make good on its commitment to help Oklahoma communities.
FEMA will provide 75 percent of the total $25.5 million cost for the 13 projects, with the remaining 25 percent non-federal share coming from local resources. The 13 applicants and the amount of federal funds they will receive are Caddo Electric ($7,230,000), Cimarron Electric ($3,637,500), Western Farmers Electric ($3,037,500), Kay Electric ($1,350,000), Kiwash Electric ($1,321,000), Central Rural Electric ($1,050,000), Northfork Electric ($566,250), Indian Electric ($168,750), Verdigris Valley Electric ($131,250), Oklahoma Electric ($72,787), Southwest Rural Electric ($60,000), Alfalfa Electric ($46,912), and Ponca City ($281,250).
A combination of cold weather, rain and snow throughout the state caused a severe build-up of ice on power lines and trees, which resulted in power outages that affected more than a quarter million residential and business customers in Oklahoma. The six rural co-ops will receive the funds for emergency repairs to the power grid that were far beyond both local and state capabilities.
The federal funds for these projects and the other eligible infrastructure losses are made available under FEMA's Public Assistance program. Under the program, which is administered by the State of Oklahoma, eligible disaster-related costs are reimbursed to government and certain private non-profit units providing essential government-like services in the area of emergency protective measures, debris removal, repairing and replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges and restoration of public facilities.
Federal Disaster Assistance Through The Public Assistance Program
What Is Public Assistance?
The Public Assistance program provides federal grants to eligible applicants for the costs of debris removal, emergency protective measures and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged facilities associated with a presidentially declared disaster. Eligible applicants include state and local governments and certain private not-for-profit entities. Federal assistance is reduced by insurance payments.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Oklahoma Department of Civil Emergency Management (ODCEM) work as partners t...