OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Sept. 11 that nine additional counties have been approved for disaster public assistance. The additional nine counties are Custer, Hughes, Jefferson, Kiowa, McIntosh, Oklahoma, Pawnee, Payne, and Pottawatomie. With Tuesday's announcement, 50 counties are now eligible for disaster public assistance as a result of the June 10 to July 25 severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes.
The 41 counties previously approved for disaster public assistance for the June 10 to July 25 severe weather are: Alfalfa, Atoka, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Choctaw, Coal, Craig, Creek, Dewey, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Harper, Jackson, Johnston, Kay, Kingfisher, Lincoln, Love, McCurtain, Major, Marshall, Mayes, McClain, Muskogee, Noble, Notwata, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pushmataha, Rogers, Sequoyah, Wagoner, Washington, Washita, Woods, and Woodward.
Disasters threaten more than homes. Bridges can be damaged or destroyed along with highways, public buildings, parks and water treatment plants. Tons of debris can be left or communications and emergency services can be disrupted.
Under the Public Assistance Grant Program, FEMA awards grants to assist state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations with the response to and recovery from disasters. The program provides funding for debris removal, implementation of emergency protective measures and permanent restoration of infrastructure. The program also encourages protection from future damage by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.
Public assistance is based on a partnership between FEMA, state and local officials. FEMA is responsible for managing the program, approving grants and providing technical assistance to the state and its applicants.
Disaster public assistance is also available to eight counties that sustained infrastructure damage due to the severe weather occurring May 24 to June 1, 2007. These eight counties are Bryan, Comanche, Cotton, Logan, Pontotoc, Seminole, Stephens, and Tillman.
Twenty-seven counties previously received a Presidential Declaration for severe storms, flooding and tornadoes occurring May 4-11. These 27 counties are Atoka, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Comanche, Cotton, Dewey, Ellis, Grady, Grant, Greer, Hughes, Kay, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, McIntosh, Noble, Nowata, Okfuskee, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills, Seminole and Tillman.
Federal, state and local teams have already started to inspect all disaster-related damage, examine expenses identified by the state or local representatives, and prepare reports that outline the scope of repair work needed and the estimated restoration cost.
For projects that are approved, FEMA will pay 75 percent of the cost. These projects typically include debris removal, emergency services related to the flooding, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities. The latter category includes schools, libraries and other public buildings, and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, utilities and recreational facilities.
Non-profit organizations may qualify for assistance to restore certain types of facilities that include educational, utility, emergency, medical, custodial care and other facilities that provide essential government types of services.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.