Washington, D.C. -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal disaster funds have been made available for Oklahoma to help local governments in 14 counties recover from the ice storm that hit the state early last December.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush following a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal aid. The declaration covers damage to public property from the storm that occurred December 3-4.
Under the declaration, Allbaugh said the state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the storm, and the repair or replacement of damaged public facilities.
The 14 counties designated by Allbaugh for the assistance following the declaration include Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Custer, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Logan, Noble, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Roger Mills and Washita.
Allbaugh said the declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks. He indicated that more counties and additional forms of federal assistance may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
James N. Russo of FEMA was named by Allbaugh to coordinate federal relief operations. Russo said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.